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Marlon Brando's Last Tango in Paris Partner Dies

Before Maria Schneider, moviegoers had never seen explicit sex up on the big screen. After her eye-popping debut, cinema would never be the same.
/ Source: E!online

Before Maria Schneider, moviegoers had never seen explicit sex up on the big screen. After her eye-popping debut, cinema would never be the same.

The French actress who gave Marlon Brando's libido a workout and raised the ire of the anti-porn brigade for her nude showcase in Bernardo Bertolucci's 1972 classic The Last Tango in Paris has died after a long illness. She was 58.

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According to reports, Schneider had been battling cancer in recent years, though it's not known if that was the cause of death.

Born in Paris to an actor father and bookseller mother, Schneider became a model when she was in her teens before landing the role at age 20 that would make her famous--a soon-to-be married young Parisian woman who engages in an anonymous sordid affair with Brando's considerably older American widower.

With its raw emotional and sexual violence, including a rape scene involving butter as a lubricant, the film infamously garnered an X rating, not to mention moral outrage and a slew of controversy. Schneider later told the press that the savage portrayal of sex, as well as Brando and Bertolucci's on-set behavior, left her feeling humiliated and "raped," and she vowed never to do a nude scene again ("Never take your clothes off for a middle-aged man who claims that it's art," she once said).

Her personal life took a tumultuous turn after Tango, marked by substance abuse, mental illness and a failed suicide attempt; but she still managed go on to star in several notable international productions,including Michaelangelo Antonioni's thriller The Passenger with Jack Nicholson. Her last appearance in U.S. theaters came in 1996's Jane Eyre, opposite Charlotte Gainsbourg and William Hurt.

Rest in peace.

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