Emmanuelle Riva Dead at 89: French Actress Best Known for ‘Amour,’ ‘Hiroshima Mon Amour’

Adieu, Emmanuelle. Adieu. Emmanuelle Riva, the iconic French actress best known for her starring roles in 2012’s Amour and 1959’s Hiroshima Mon Amour, died in Paris on Friday, January 27. She was 89.

Riva had been battling cancer, her agent, Anne Alvares Correa, told The Associated Press, but was working as recently as last summer, filming a new project, Alma, in Iceland and performing at the Villa Medici in Rome.

The veteran actress was nominated alongside big-name stars like Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Lawrence, Naomi Watts and Quvenzhane Wallis for her riveting turn in 2012’s Amour, which she described to The Guardian in 2012 as a “wonderful, marvelous, extraordinary gift.” Amour followed the story of an elderly couple facing the reality of aging and death, a fitting cap on her impressive body of work.

Riva got her start in 1959’s Hiroshima Mon Amour, about a failing romance between a French actor and a Japanese architect. The film was directed by Alain Resnais and has long been considered one of the most important films in modern cinema.

In addition to acting in fils such as Gillo Pontecorvo’s Kapo (1960), Jean-Pierre Melville’s Leon Morin (1961) and Georges Franju’s Therese (1962), Riva was also a published photographer.

French President Francois Hollande issued a statement Friday honoring Riva’s contribution to French culture, saying that Riva “deeply marked French cinema” and “created intense emotion in all the roles she played.”

Riva never married and had no children.

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