Romy Schneider was the stage name of Rosemarie Magalena Albach, the first-born child of actors Wolf Albach-Retty and Magda Schneider. The two were barely present in her childhood years, since they were both committed to their acting careers. With only 4 weeks-old Rosemarie was left to be raised by her grandparents in Schönau am Königssee and when she was 8 years old, her parents divorced. Romy attended a boarding school and there discovered her talent in theater, painting and drawing.
She made her first film debut with 14 years old in the movie When lilacs bloom White (1953) along with her mother and in 1955 accepted the role of Elisabeth, Empress of Austria in the trilogy Sissi (1955). This was a turning point in her career, Romy gained international recognition for the character and was given the nickname “Shirley Tempelhof”, symbolizing her overnight success. In the book Romy & Alain: Eine Amour fou (2013) Romy shared how preoccupied she was at the time. There were days when she would have to answer up to 150 and 200 fan letters a day. Her career was managed by her mother and stepfather so she wasn’t happy about that too. Romy wanted to take control of her own and to play more complex roles. She also didn’t quite like the influence which Sissi’s role played in her life.
“Sissi sticks to me just like oatmeal.” – Romy Schneider
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In 1958 Romy was ready to break up with her melodramatic character and signed for her first foreign role in the movie Christine. Her co-star – Alain Delon, a then 23 year-old unknown actor. Alain had a complicated background of his own. His parents divorced when he was 4 years old and then lived with a foster family. Delon was a rebel, he was expelled from school because of his behavior and later served 11 months in a military jail for “bad discipline”.
When Romy arrived at the Parisian airport for Christine (1958), Alain was already there, waiting for her with a bouquet of scarlet roses. He however, said something inappropriate and didn’t leave a good first impression on her. They took this to the film set, where they would regularly argue. Despite the significant differences, Alain and Romy fell in love with each other. Once they were done filming, she visited him in Paris, where he had already rented an apartment and so they began living together.
“I want to be completely French in the way I live, love, sleep and dress.” – Romy Schneider
Romy’s mother didn’t approve of their “free spirited” lifestyle and insisted on Alain committing to her daughter. In 1959 the two got engaged, but their constant explosive fights continued throughout their engagement. Sometimes when fighting, he would leave her alone for months and then come back. Romy, who was madly in love with him, would easily forgive him and take him back but in 1963 Alain was photographed with another woman sitting in his lap. The rumored woman was Nathalie Barthélémy. He one day left Romy a note: “Gone to Mexico with Natalie” and this was the end of their relationship. As a matter of fact, Nathalie was pregnant with Alain’s child and in 1964 they got married.
“The most important man in my life is and always will be Alain Delon. He is always there when I need a shoulder to cry on… even today Alain is the only man I can count on. He would always help me. Only Alain shaped me as a woman. Even though he hurt me a lot when he left me I also matured because of it.” – Romy Schneider
The greatest love story ends with the most touching letter!. Shkruar Nga Anabelle. Anabel Magazine. Posted 2019.
The rehabilitation of Romy Schneider. Kate Connolly. The Guardian. Published on Mon 29 Sep 2008.
Romy & Alain: Eine Amour fou. Günter Krenn. Publisher: Aufbau Digital. 2013.
Денят, в който спра да ти вярвам, ще бъде последният в живота ми…. ART DAY BG. Published on 29th May 2020.