Romy Schneider: An unfortunate end to a happy story
In honor of the birthday of the actress, allforwomen.inform.click recalled the facts of her biography
The actress of Austrian origin received her first role as soon as she was 17 years old. Princess Sisi became a reflection of the young screen star for many years – she could not be offered other roles in post-war Germany. Schneider sought to get away from portraying naive sympathetic characters, but the recovery time from injuries dictated its terms. The German film industry of the 1950s was dominated by the Heimatfilm (homeland film) genre, a unique product of the post-war mentality, set in sentimental and idealized rural settings and based on predictable plots and simplistic morals. “Yes, I loved this role then," Schneider noted, “I was a princess not only in front of the camera. I have always been a princess. But one day I just didn’t want to be a princess anymore."
New career path
Romy Schneider and Alain Delon announced their engagement in 1959. Schneider fled Berlin for dazzling Paris to be with her French lover and fellow actor Alain Delon, creating a national scandal. “I was trying to get out of this straitjacket, this little narrow world. I wanted to get away from the routine that I had in Germany. Paris became a new world, a new life. I needed this freedom, and I used it to the maximum, “Romi admitted. Paris became Schneider’s artistic "base" – she became the muse of the great directors of the time, including Lucino Visconti, Orson Welles, Otto Preminger and Claude Saute. Romi completely threw off the image of a little naive girl and took complex, sexy and provocative roles.
Film critics and film buffs are fascinated by Schneider’s artistic transformation to this day. The films in which she starred in France were different from those in Germany. “You have to admire her ability to change,” said film critic Martin Hamdorf. But in order to make the transformation, it was important to leave Germany and become part of a different cinematic tradition. “I don’t think she would have had a chance to develop further in Germany,” Hamdorf said. “The landscape of German cinema at that time was just sad and dreary.” Schneider received several awards, including a French Academy Film Award and a German Film Award in 1977.
Stormy personal life
Schneider appeared most often in French films throughout the 70s, but the actress’s long-term success on the screen was impossible due to the events of her personal life. After being dumped by Alain Delon, she married German director Harry Meyen. Meyen committed suicide and their son died in an accident in 1981. Schneider became increasingly addicted to alcohol and tranquilizers. According to her biographers, she was torn between fame, the desire to succeed, and the desire for a normal life.
Romy Schneider was found dead in her Paris apartment on May 29, 1982 at the age of 43. It has been suggested that she killed herself by taking a lethal cocktail of alcohol and sleeping pills. However, no autopsy was performed. Schneider was declared dead of heart failure.