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Having become a star thanks to films that have forever marked the history of cinema, forty years after her death, she is still as beloved and popular as ever.
Rosemarie Magdalena Albach
It’s his real name. Romy Schneider is a pseudonym chosen by the actress from her first films. Her birth name is Rosemarie Magdalena Albach. “Romy” is a contraction of this first name and “Schneider”, the maiden name of his mother, Magda Schneider, German actress and singer. Ball child born in Vienna in 1938, not only were his parents immensely well-known actors in Austria and Germany, but Romy’s own grandmother, Rosa Retty, who died at the venerable age of 105, long burned the boards of Berlin theatres.
“The Sans-Souci Pass”
Romy Schneiderr grew up with his mother in Germany. The latter chose to move to Berchtesgaden, not far from Hitler’s future residence. If Magda was never either an inserter or a sympathizer of the Nazi party, Romy Schneider later confided to the Polish director Andrzej Zulawski that her mother was suspected of being the mistress of Goebbels, minister of propaganda. The actress, who was ashamed of her German origins, will marry Harry Meyen, a German Jewish director, deported during the war. In the moving film by Jacques Rouffio, shot in 1982, “La Passere du Sans-Souci”, she played successively, from the 1930s to the 1980s, two women victims of Nazism and anti-Semitism. This will be his final role.
She hated the image of Sissi
It was thanks to her role in “Sissi”, in 1955, that Romy Schneider became famous. When it was released, the romantic film by Ernst Marischka, a renowned Austrian director, in which the young actress perfectly played the role of the Empress of Austria, was a huge success in Europe. The recipes smash all records and even exceed those of “Gone with the Wind”! The young actress will also triumph in the second and third parts of the adventures of “Sissi”, “Sissi Empress” in 1956 then “Sissi facing her destiny” in 1957, but she will then want to get rid of this character who imprisoned her, despite the insistence of his mother Magda who managed his career.
Romy Schneider will admit, a few years later:
“I hate this image of Sissi. […] I refused the eighty million they offered me to shoot a fourth version of Sissi”.
It will take a magician, superb Italian aristocrat, Luchino Visconti, for Romy Schneider to accept two decades later to play the Empress of Austria again, in “Ludwig or the Twilight of the Gods”, released in 1972.
The legendary couple with Alain Delon
“The most important man in my life was and remains Delon. »
Here she is free to leave Austria for Paris and shoot the main role in “Christine”, by Pierre Gaspard-Huit, in 1958. During the press conference for the film which takes place in an airport, at the bottom of an escalator , Romy Schneider meets a young Frenchman with bewitching blue eyes, who, during the filming, melts her heart. It’s Alain Delon. The most glamorous couple of the moment will last five years. After five years of mad and devouring passion, the French actor leaves her, for Nathalie Sand, leaving her a 15-page long letter of separation. If the actress subsequently found love in the arms of Harry Meyen, she wrote in her diary in 1977: “The most important man in my life was and remains Delon. »
It was also Alain Delon who allowed him to relaunch his career in France, by imposing him on the set of Jacques Deray’s film, “La Piscine”, in 1968. The role of Marianne will prove to be major for Romy Schneider . The 70s will offer him his most beautiful roles.
Committed to abortion
In the 1970s, Romy Schneider campaigned for free and free abortion. A committed actress, she even signed the column “We aborted” in the German newspaper Stern in 1971, an echo of the “Manifesto of 343” in favor of abortion. After speaking out in favor of abortion in her native country, she will be harassed by the Hamburg court.
The death of his son
If she had dazzling successes and passionate love stories, tragedies also marked her life. But July 5, 1981 was the day when everything changed for Romy. His son, David, died in a terrible accident at the age of 14 trying to climb the gate of his grandparents’ house. As he fell, he impaled himself on one of the metal bars and died a few hours later in the hospital. Romy was being hounded by the paparazzi. Shameless photographers will go so far as to dress up as nurses to take a picture of the deceased child…. Romy, collapsed, will never regain a taste for life.