French actress and arthouse favorite Maria Schneider has passed away today at the age of 58.
After appearing in a handful of films, Schneider burst into the movie world at the age of 19 when she starred opposite Marlon Brando in Bernardo Bertolucci‘s provocative “Last Tango In Paris.” The film caused a media frenzy and scandal for its bracing and raw sex scenes. While the film made her a star, Schneider would later denounce her treatment on the film, particularly the infamous “butter scene” of which she said, “I felt a little raped.” Schneider would soldier on, and her next major film would be Michelangelo Antonioni’s masterful “The Passenger” with Jack Nicholson. Clearly, she was an actress on the rise, but unfortunately drug addiction and other personal woes would largely sideline her career until the 1980s, when she continued to work largely in European cinema alongside a number of acclaimed directors including Jacques Rivette (“Merry-Go-Round“), Franco Zeffirelli (“Jane Eyre“) and Marco Bellocchio (“The Conviction“).
In her brief career, Maria Schneider became an icon and undeniable presence that was felt in her most acclaimed work. She will be missed. [Reuters]