Christine Kaufmann, Actress in ‘Town Without Pity,’ Dies at 72


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Christine Kaufmann in the 1961 film “Town Without Pity.” She won a Golden Globe Award for her role.

Credit
United Artists, via Photofest

Christine Kaufmann, an Austrian-born actress who won a Golden Globe Award for her Hollywood debut as a German girl raped by American soldiers in the 1961 film “Town Without Pity,” has died in Munich. She was 72.

Her management confirmed the death to the German news agency DPA on Tuesday. She had leukemia.

Ms. Kaufmann, who was married to the Hollywood star Tony Curtis in the 1960s, was the first Austrian to win a Golden Globe, hers for most promising newcomer.

“Town Without Pity” starred Kirk Douglas as a defense lawyer trying to save the lives of American soldiers charged with the rape. Reviewing the movie in The New York Times, Marjory Adams wrote that Ms. Kaufmann was “pitiful and sweetly young — too weak to be at the center of such horror,” adding, “She is excellently cast as one of the unhappiest heroines of the year’s cinema.”

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Ms. Kaufmann and Tony Curtis at a promotional event for their film “Taras Bulba” in 1962. They later married and had two daughters.

Credit
Associated Press

A year later Ms. Kaufmann met Curtis while the two were filming the costume drama “Taras Bulba.” She was 18 and he was 37 when they married in 1963. They had two daughters, Allegra and Alexandra, before divorcing in 1968. It was one of four marriages for Ms. Kaufmann, all of which ended in divorce.

Christine Maria Kaufmann was born on Jan. 11, 1945, in Lendorf, Austria. Her father, Johannes, was an engineer and a former officer in the German Luftwaffe in World War II. Her mother, the former Genevieve Gavaert, was a French makeup artist.

Christine made her acting debut as a child, in 1952, and was a teenager when she appeared opposite Steve Reeves in Sergio Leone’s Italian sword-and-sandal epic “The Last Days of Pompeii” (1959). She appeared in more than 100 films and television productions, mostly German.

Later in life she established her own cosmetics line and wrote books on health and beauty.

There was no immediate word on survivors.

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