European actress Maria Schell has died after losing her battle with pneumonia. She was 79.

Schell launched to prominence as a star of German-speaking cinema in the early 1950s and scooped a Best Actress prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 1954 for her role as a young doctor in the anti-war film DIE LETZTE BRUCKE (THE LAST BRIDGE).

She then went on to achieve success in Hollywood, teaming up with legends like Jon Voight in THE ODESSA FILE and the late Christopher Reeve in Superman.

Schell - who was born to a Swiss father and Austrian mother - also starred alongside Gary Cooper, Marcello Mastroianni and Orson Welles.

The actress died of heart failure at her home in Carinthia, southern Austria, on Tuesday (26APR05) after falling ill with pneumonia. She was married three times and is survived by two children.

28/04/2005 13:47