5 Feb 2011

Death of French actress

1:02 pm on 5 February 2011

French actress Maria Schneider, best-known for her role in the film Last Tango in Paris, has died.

Schneider was 58. Her family said she had been ill for some time.

Born in 1952 in Paris, Schneider was given her first break in Madly (1970).

Schneider was 19 when she played opposite Marlon Brando in Last Tango in 1972, which was banned in some countries, including New Zealand, because of its explicit sex scenes.

Last Tango in Paris provoked such controversy that she resolved never to do nude scenes again.

Three years later she worked in a Jack Nicholson film, The Passenger.

The BBC reports Schneider battled drug addiction in the 1970s, but went on to star in mostly low-budget European films.

She was last seen on the big screen in 2008 French film Cliente, about a married construction worker who leads a double life as a gigolo.