Emmanuelle Riva, the French actress who made history as the oldest ever nominated for a best-actor Oscar, died on Jan. 27 at age 89.
She rose to fame with her role in the 1959 film “Hiroshima Mon Amour,” notes the Washington Post. More than 50 years later, she starred in “Amour,” for which she received an Academy Award nomination.
She was one of leading actors of the so-called “French New Wave” movement in cinema of the 1950s and 1960s. The plot of “Hiroshima Mon Amour,” as the title implies, is set amid the postwar destruction of Hiroshima, Japanese. Many film critics consider it of the most beautiful films ever made.
Another notable starring role for Riva was in “Leon Morin, Priest,” a controversial 1961 film in which she portrayed a widow who falls in love with a priest. The following year, she played the title role in “Therese,” a wife accused of poisoning her husband.
Riva never made a film in Hollywood nor in English and, despite her European fame, remained mostly unknown to the average American for decades. It was not until “Amour” received an Academy Award for best foreign film, when Riva was 85, that she received wide exposure in the U.S.
In 2013, she explained to The New York Times why she decided to make that movie: “I immediately sensed that there was something extraordinary about the script. I sensed it intimately, without the least vanity. I knew I could do it, I wanted to do it right away, and I lived through it with passion.”
Her final completed films were “A Greek Type of Problem” and “Marie and the Misfits,” both released in 2016, according to IMDb. She also appeared in two movies that have not yet been released, “Les Vacances” and “Alma.”
Sources: Washington Post, IMDb / Photo Credit: Georges Biard/Wikimedia Commons