Maria Schneider dies

The much admired actress has danced her last tango.

by Jennie Kermode

Actress Maria Schneider, star of Bernardo Bertolucci's controversial Last Tango in Paris, has died in Paris at the age of 58. She had been ill for several years.

Although she is best known for her iconic performance opposite Marlon Brando, at the tender age of 20, Schneider starred in over 40 other films during the course of her career. She was briefly involved in that other highly controversial sexual film of the Seventies, Caligula, though she walked out of the shoot. Though it made her famous, Last Tango had a profoundly unsettling effect on her, and she was particularly concerned that Bertolucci never apologised for putting her through scenes she felt were inappropriate for an inexperienced actress with no access to independent advice. Despite numerous offers, she determined that she would never again do nude scenes, and was determined to carve out a career for herself on her own terms.

Later in her career, Schneider won a lead role in Michaelangelo Antonioni's The Passenger. The two struck up a friendship and the director continued to advocate for her with the industry. She would go on to work with Jacques Rivette on Merry-Go-Round and to give a memorable performance as Brenda in the 1996 version of Jane Eyre.

Schneider carefully guarded her private life but is believed to be survived by her life partner. She had no children.

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