Rosemarie Albach-Retty, her real name, was born on September 23, 1938 in Vienna, Austria. Daughter of a couple of actors, Magda Schneider and Wolf Albach-Retty, the little girl, already nicknamed Romy, grew up in Bavaria near Berchtesgaden. She has a younger brother, Wolfgang. After her parents’ divorce, she attended a boarding school near Salzburg and already showed great talent for acting. In 1953, the girl left the boarding school and was reunited with her mother, who had meanwhile remarried to Hans Herbert Blatzheim.
At the age of 15, she made her debut in front of the camera, alongside her mother, who played the main role in the film White Lilacs by Hans Deppe. Given the promising beginnings of Romy, Magda Schneider decided to take her daughter’s career in hand. Romy Schneider will play romantic girls and, in 1955, is revealed to the general public through the first part of Sissi. The film was a great success and two other parts were filmed; Sissi Empress (1956) and Sissi facing her destiny (1957). In 1958, her career took a new turn when she agreed to play in her first French film, Christine, directed by Pierre Gaspard-Huit with Alain Delon. The actress then emancipated and decided to move to Paris to pursue her career.
In 1961, Romy Schneider and Alain Delon are replicated in the theater in the play, Dommage qu’elle soit une putain, under the direction of Luchino Visconti. After an American interlude, during which she shot the comedies The Cardinal and Lend me your husband, she returned to France and will gradually break her image. In 1964, she began shooting Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Inferno (unfinished film) in which the actress reveals a more sulphurous facet. Between 1966 and 1968, she marks a break in her career to devote herself to her personal life.
The actress returns in 1968, the poster of La Piscine by Jacques Deray, and seals his reunion on the screen with Alain Delon. From then on, Romy Schneider will embody the modern woman through many films, including those of Claude Sautet; Les choses de la vie (1970), Max et les Ferrailleurs (1970), Caesar and Rosalie (1972), and A Simple Story (1978), a role that allows her to win the César for best actress. She does not hesitate to play very dark characters; The Infernal Trio, or L’important c’est d’aimer (which earned her the César for best actress). The actress collaborates with many great directors; Luchino Visconti, Pierre Granier-Deferre, Claude Chabrol, Costa-Gavras or Claude Miller. In 1982, she made her last film, La passante du Sans-Souci, by Jacques Rouffio.
On the private side, Romy Schneider met Alain Delon on the set of Christine in 1958. In March 1959, their engagement, on the shores of Lake Lugano, is very publicized. But the actor left her and the couple separated in 1963. In July 1966, the actress married the German director Harry Meyen with whom she had a son, David, born in December 1966. The couple separated in 1972 and the divorce was pronounced in 1975. She found love again on the arm of Daniel Biasini, her former secretary, eleven years her junior. They get married in December 1975, and their daughter, Sarah, is born on July 21, 1977. In 1981, their divorce is pronounced. On July 5, 1981, his son, David, 14 years old, kills himself by climbing the gate of the house of the parents of Daniel Biasini. On May 29, 1982, Romy Schneider is found dead in his Paris apartment, by his last companion, Laurent Pétin.