updated - May 19, 2013 Sunday EDT
Sylvia Kristel, who is considered to be the first adult film star, has died at the age of 60 after suffering a long battle with cancer.
Dutch actress Sylvia Kristel, who starred in the 1974 erotic French film Emmanuelle, died Thursday. Her agent, Features Creative Management, said in a statement that Kristel died in her sleep Wednesday night. Kristel, a model who turned to acting in the 1970s, had been fighting cancer for several years.
"She died during the night during her sleep," her agent, Marieke Verharen, told the AFP news agency.
The actress, who had cancer, was admitted to hospital in July after suffering a stroke.
She went on to star in several sequels to "Emmanuelle," as well as in Hollywood movies including "Private Lessons" in 1981.
In the controversial film she played the woman after which it was named -- a young model Emmanuelle, married to a much older man. The plot revolves around the couple as they move to Bangkok. Kristel's character then engages in a number of extramarital affairs as her husband doesn't seem to mind.
Kristel's performance in the "soft core" film even drew critical praise from Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert. He wrote in 1975: What makes the film work is the performance of Sylvia Kristel... [who] projects a certain vulnerability that makes several of the scenes work... The performers in most skin flicks seem so impervious to ordinary mortal failings, so blase in the face of the most outrageous sexual invention, that finally they just become cartoon characters. Kristel actually seems to be present in the film, and as absorbed in its revelations as we are, according to the BBC.
Born in Utrecht, Holland, in 1952, Kristel grew up with her younger sister Marianne in Room 21 of The Commerce Hotel, which her parents owned.
She was onvent-educated and later fled her strict Calvinist upbringing for Amsterdam as a teenager, where she worked as a secretary and a waitress before becoming a model.
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