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Birth name Maria-Hélène SchneiderNationality FranceBirth 27 march 1952
at Paris (France
)Death 3 february 2011
(at 58 years) at Paris (France
Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres
Marie Christine Schneider, better known as Maria Schneider, (27 March 1952 – 3 February 2011) was a French actress. She became known, at the age of 19, for playing Jeanne opposite Marlon Brando in Bernardo Bertolucci's film Last Tango in Paris (1972); and The Girl in Michelangelo Antonioni's The Passenger (1975), opposite Jack Nicholson.
In 1974, Schneider came out as bisexual. In early 1976, she abandoned the film set of Caligula and checked herself into a mental hospital in Rome for several days to be with her lover, photographer Joan Townsend. This, coupled with her refusal to perform nude, led to Schneider's dismissal from the film. She was replaced by Teresa Ann Savoy.
The 1970s were turbulent years for Schneider, marked by drug addiction, overdoses, and a suicide attempt. Schneider said that she disliked the instant fame accorded to her from Last Tango in Paris. She suffered abuse and began taking drugs.
I was rock'n'roll. About drugs, we did not know at the time, it was so dangerous. There was an ideal, to change society, and especially a thirst for novelty...I have lost seven years of my life and I regret it bitterly...I started using drugs when I became famous. I did not like the celebrity, and especially the image full of innuendo, naughty, that people had of me after Last Tango. In addition, I had no family behind me, who protect you ... I suffered abuse. People who come up to tell you unpleasant things on planes. I was tracked down, and I felt hounded.
By the 1980s, however, her life had improved:
"I was very lucky – I lost many friends to drugs – but I met someone in 1980 who helped me stop. I call this person my angel and we've been together ever since. I don't say if it's a man or a woman. That's my secret garden. I like to keep it a mystery."