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Emmanuelle Riva
Emmanuelle Riva (1962).jpg
Riva in 1962
Paulette Germaine Riva

(1927-02-24)24 February 1927
Cheniménil, Vosges, France
Died 27 January 2017(2017-01-27) (aged 89)
Paris, France
Resting place Cimetière de Charonne, Paris
Nationality French
  • Actress
  • poet
  • photographer
  • artist
  • chanteuse
Years active 1956–2017

Emmanuelle Riva (French pronunciation: [ɛmanɥɛl ʁiva]; 24 February 1927 – 27 January 2017) was a French actress, best known for her roles in the films Hiroshima mon amour (1959) and Amour (2012).

Riva was nominated for a BAFTA Award for her role in Hiroshima mon amour, and won Best Actress at the Venice Film Festival for Thérèse Desqueyroux (1962). For her lead role in Michael Haneke's Amour, she won a BAFTA Award and the César Award, and was nominated for an Academy Award.

Early life

Riva was born Paulette Germaine Riva on 24 February 1927 in Cheniménil, France, the daughter of Jeanne Fernande (née Nourdin), a seamstress, and René Alfred Riva, a sign painter from Italy.

Growing up in Remiremont, Riva showed an early passion for acting, performing in plays at her local theatre, but worked for several years as a seamstress. After seeing an advertisement on a local newspaper, Riva applied to an acting school in Paris.

At 26, she moved to Paris to pursue acting despite her family's objections. In 1954, she performed her first role on stage in a Paris production of George Bernard Shaw's Arms and the Man. In 1957, Riva made her onscreen acting debut in the TV series Énigmes de l'histoire.


Emmanuelle Riva Cannes 2012
Emmanuelle Riva at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival


..... Her performance was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actress in 1960. She next appeared in Gillo Pontecorvo's Kapò (1960), Jean-Pierre Melville's Léon Morin, Priest (1961) and Georges Franju's Thérèse Desqueyroux (1962), for which she won the Volpi Cup for Best Actress at the 23rd Venice International Film Festival. Riva also appeared in Krzysztof Kieślowski's Three Colors: Blue (1993), Tonie Marshall's Venus Beauty Institute (1999), Julie Delpy's Skylab (2011) and Fiona Gordon & Dominique Abel 's Lost in Paris (2016).

Riva starred in Michael Haneke's film Amour (2012) with Jean-Louis Trintignant, playing an elderly music teacher being cared for by her husband after a series of debilitating strokes. She won the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role in 2013 for her performance, and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress. Riva traveled to the 85th Academy Awards ceremony, which was held on her 86th birthday, but Jennifer Lawrence won for Silver Linings Playbook instead. At 85, when she was nominated, Riva was the oldest ever Best Actress nominee and the second-oldest acting nominee after Gloria Stuart, who was 87 when she was nominated for Titanic (1997).

Other works

Riva had an extensive theatre career in Paris. In 2001, she performed in Medea at the Festival d'Avignon. She appeared occasionally on French television. Riva returned to the Paris stage in February 2014, co-starring with Anne Consigny in the Marguerite Duras play Savannah Bay at the Théâtre de l'Atelier.

While filming Hiroshima mon amour, Riva photographed Hiroshima; a half-century later these photographs were exhibited at the Nikon Salon and issued in book form in France and Japan. Riva was a published poet.

Cimetière de Charonne - Riva 01
Riva's final resting place in Paris

Personal life

Riva led a private life, never married and did not have children. She had a partner, who died in 1999. Riva owned a fourth-floor walk-up apartment in the Latin Quarter of Paris, and lived there for more than half a century.


Riva died from cancer on 27 January 2017 in Paris, four weeks before her 90th birthday. A memorial service was held on 4 February 2017 at Saint-Germain de Charonne church in the 20th arrondissement of Paris; she was then buried in Charonne cemetery.

Selected filmography

Year Title Director Notes
1959 Hiroshima mon amour Alain Resnais Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actress
1959 Kapò Gillo Pontecorvo
1960 The Eighth Day Marcel Hanoun
Adua and Friends Antonio Pietrangeli
Recourse in Grace Laslo Benedek
1961 Léon Morin, Priest Jean-Pierre Melville
1962 Thérèse Desqueyroux Georges Franju Volpi Cup for Best Actress
Climats Stellio Lorenzi
1963 The Hours of Love Luciano Salce
Le gros coup Jean Valère
1965 Thomas the Impostor Georges Franju
1967 Les risques du métier André Cayatte
1973 I Will Walk Like a Crazy Horse Fernando Arrabal
1982 The Eyes, the Mouth Marco Bellocchio
1983 Liberté, la nuit Philippe Garrel
1993 Three Colors: Blue Krzysztof Kieślowski
1999 Venus Beauty Institute Tonie Marshall
2001 Médée Don Kent
2009 A Man and His Dog Francis Huster
2011 Le Skylab Julie Delpy
2012 Amour Michael Haneke BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actress
César Award for Best Actress
Dublin Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress
European Film Award for Best Actress
International Cinephile Society Award for Best Actress
London Film Critics Circle Award for Actress of the Year
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
Lumières Award for Best Actress
National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actress
New York Film Critics Online Award for Best Actress
Premio Cinema Ludus for Best European Actress
San Francisco Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Actress
Nominated—AACTA International Award for Best Actress
Nominated—Alliance of Women Film Journalists Award for Best Actress
Nominated—Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
Nominated—Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
Nominated—Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
Nominated—Dorian Award for Best Actress
Nominated—Houston Film Critics Society for Best Actress
Nominated—Irish Film & Television Awards – Best International Actress
Nominated—Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Actress
Nominated—New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
Nominated—Toronto Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
Nominated—Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
Días de Cine Awards for Best Actress
2016 Marie and the Misfits Sébastien Betbeder
2016 Lost in Paris Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon
2017 La Sainte Famille Marion Sarraut

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Emmanuelle Riva para niños

  • List of oldest and youngest Academy Award winners and nominees
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