'Last Tango in Paris' Maria Schneider dies after long illness

maria-schneider-last-tango-in-paris.jpgFrench actress Maria Schneider (pictured above at 19), who is best known in the United States for starring in "Last Tango in Paris" alongside Marlon Brando, passed away Thursday (Feb. 3) at age 58 after battling a long illness, her family tells the AP.

"Last Tango in Paris" sparked much controversy and bans in several countries due to its graphic sex scenes between Schneider, who was 19 at the time, and Brando, who was 48.

The film chronicles a young French girl and a middle-aged American tourist who meet up to have anonymous sex. It earned Oscar nominations for director Bernardo Bertolucci and Marlon Brando for Best Actor.

Schneider has said she felt robbed of her youth by Bertolucci's insistence she film a particularly graphic sex scene in the movie involving butter, but that she and Brando remained friends until his death in 2004. Bertolucci told the ANSA news agency that he wishes he could have apologized to her. 

Photo/Video credit: United Artists