Tragedy plagued the short but spectacular life of Romy Schneider. A prolific 30 year career saw her star in over 40 films, but Romy’s personal life was troubled by depression and the loss of those she loved.

Born in Vienna 1938, Romy made her film debut at 15, becoming extremely famous just two years later for her leading role as Elizabeth of Austria in Sissi. Romy’s captivating portrayal of the kind hearted princess won her millions of fans, but she grew to resent being typecast in the role.

She fled to France where she soon developed the suave blend of French and Germanic sensibilities that were so uniquely Romy. She did much of her best work there, going on to win the César Award no less than five times whilst making some of the best European films of the day. 

Her emigration didn’t go down well back at home, still licking its wounds after 1945. But looking back, Romy is thought to have been a key figure in Franco-German reconciliation. She died at the age 43, some say of a broken heart after her young son’s demise and the suicide of her husband Harry Mayen. We only wonder what she may have done if life had been a little kinder to our reluctant Empress.

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