Hollywood News

Star of ‘Amour’, Emmanuelle Riva, Dies At 89

French actress Emmanuelle Riva, know for her role in the 2012 Oscar nominated film Amour, died on Friday at a Paris clinic. She was 89. The veteran actress had cancer, her agent told The Associative Press. She lived a private life, never married and had no kids; Riva leaves behind no close relatives. 

In a career spanning 60 years, she performed her first role on stage in Paris, in a 1954 production of George Bernard Shaw’s Arms and the Man. Soon, she made her onscreen debut in the TV series Énigmes de l’histoire in 1957. Her breakthrough role, however, was Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959), where she played a French actress having an affair with a Japanese architect in Hiroshima. The film fetched her a BAFTA nomination that year. 

Riva worked with key French directors such as Gillo Pontecorvo for the Academy nominated film Kapò (1959), Jean-Pierre Melville on Léon Morin, Priest (1961) and Georges Franju on Thérèse Desqueyroux, a role which fetched her the Best Actress Award at the Venice Film Festival in 1962.

Her most endearing performance is said to be Amour starring alongside another French movie legend, Jean-Louis Trintignant. Riva was Oscar-nominated for her role in Amour,  Michael Haneke’s story of a loving, elderly Parisian couple, one of whom has a stroke. Amour also won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Riva also won best actress at the British Academy Film Awards for her performance. She eventually lost to Jennifer Lawrence for best actress at the Oscars that year.


She continued to work till recently, shooting in Iceland for Alma, which is still being filmed and edited and will be the last movie to feature Riva, according to The Hollywood Reporter. She also features in Paris Pieds Nus (Paris Barefoot), which will release in France in March this year. 

Apart from a thriving theatre and cinema career, Riva was also a photographer and poet. While filming Hiroshima mon amour, Riva photographed Hiroshima; a half-century later these photographs were exhibited at the Nikon Salon and were issued in book form in France and Japan.

Tributes have been pouring for the actress, with even French President Francois Hollande releasing a statement about Riva who “deeply marked French cinema” and “created intense emotion in all the roles she played.” 

Feature Image: Getty Images