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Star of Legendary Drama Dies

Star of Legendary Drama Dies


Maria Schneider, who gained cinema immortality with her torrid performance opposite Marlon Brando in the controversial 1972 drama Last Tango in Paris, has died at 58, reports U.K. newspaper The Guardian.

The actress was 19 when cast opposite the 48-year-old Brando in 1972 Bernardo Bertolucci-directed film, which originally received an X rating. The romantic drama created a media frenzy for its sexual content and was either censored or banned in many countries. Opinions on whether it was art or pornography were so intense that the film landed cover stories in both Newsweek and Time.

The performance made Schneider a star, but she later disavowed the film, saying she'd been exploited by Bertolucci and Brando.

Schneider came out as bisexual in 1974 and the following year starred opposite Jack Nicholson in Michelangelo Antonioni's highly regarded existential drama The Passenger. Her post-Tango career was hindered by drug addiction and mental illness. After walking off the set of the 1979 film Caligula she reportedly checked herself into an asylum.

Her last notable performances was the 1996 film adaptation of Jane Eyre, as the insane first wife of Rochester, played by William Hurt.

Schneider is said to have battled cancer in recent months.

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