Birthplace: Berlin, West Germany
Nastassja Aglaia Kinski (born 24 January 1961) is a German actress and former model who has appeared in more than 60 films in Europe and the United States. She enjoyed her worldwide breakthrough with Stay As You Are (1978), then came to global prominence with her Golden Globe Award-winning performance as the title character in the Roman Polanski-directed film Tess (1979). Other notable films in which she acted include the erotic horror Cat People (1982), the Wim Wenders dramas Paris, Texas (1984), Faraway, So Close! (1993), and An American Rhapsody (2001).
Kinski was born in Berlin as Nastassja Aglaia Nakszynski. She is the daughter of German actor Klaus Kinski and his second wife, actress Ruth Brigitte Tocki. She is of partial Polish descent as her grandfather Bruno Nakszynski was a Germanized ethnic Pole. Kinski has two half-siblings; Pola and Nikolai Kinski. Her parents divorced in 1968. After the age of 10, Kinski rarely saw her father. Her mother struggled financially to support them. They eventually lived in a commune in Munich.
In a 1999 interview, Kinski denied that her father had sexually molested her as a child, but said he had abused her "in other ways." In 2013, when interviewed about the allegations of sexual abuse made by her half-sister Pola Kinski, she confirmed that he tried with her, but did not succeed. She said:
|“||He was no father. 99 percent of the time I was terrified of him. He was so unpredictable that the family lived in constant terror." When asked what she would say to him now, if she had the chance, she replied: "I would do anything to put him behind bars for life. I am glad he is no longer alive.||”|
Kinski began working as a model as a teenager in Germany. Actress Lisa Kreuzer of the German New Wave helped get her the role of the mute Mignon in Wim Wenders film The Wrong Move, where at the age of 12 she was depicted topless.
Later, she played one of the leading roles in Wenders' film Paris, Texas (1984), as well as appearing in his Faraway, So Close (1993). In 1976, while still a teenager, Kinski had her first two major roles: in Wolfgang Petersen's feature film-length episode Reifezeugnis of the German TV crime series Tatort. Next, she appeared in the British horror film To the Devil a Daughter (1976), produced by Hammer Film Productions, which was released in the UK just 40 days after Kinski's fifteenth birthday, making it a virtual certainty she was only fourteen when her scenes were shot (including full frontal nudity). In regards to her early films, Kinski has stated that she felt exploited by the industry. In an interview with W, she said, "If I had had somebody to protect me or if I had felt more secure about myself, I would not have accepted certain things. Nudity things. And inside it was just tearing me apart."
In 1978, Kinski starred in the Italian romance Stay As You Are (Così come sei) with Marcello Mastroianni, gaining her recognition in the United States after New Line Cinema released it there in December 1979. Time wrote that she was "simply ravishing, genuinely sexy and high-spirited without being painfully aggressive about it." The film also received a major international release from Columbia Pictures.
Kinski met the director Roman Polanski at a party in 1976. He urged her to study method acting with Lee Strasberg in the United States and she was offered the title role in Polanski's upcoming film, Tess (1979). In 1978, Kinski underwent extensive preparation for the portrayal of an English peasant girl, which included acquiring a Dorset accent through elocution studies:
|“||I was given the book almost a year prior to read, I then had to transform myself and lose my German accent completely. I worked with a coach from the National Theatre in London, Kate Flemming. It was almost an intellectual voyage. I went to live in the countryside of the deep part of England, on a farm, did everything they did, and learned it. When the time came in Paris to do my test, it was with our director and our producers Claude Berri and Timothy Burrill, I had done a screen test with Roman prior to that, for Dino DeLaurentis, but now this was for Tess. Preparation is an amazing thing. It, somehow, after all the work, carries you if you are fully present, it carries you through like a bird, like big inner and outer wings.||”|
The film was nominated for six awards, including Best Picture, at the 53rd Academy Awards, and won three.
In 1981, Richard Avedon photographed Kinski with a Burmese python coiled around her nude body. The image, which first appeared in the October 1981 issue of US Vogue, was released as a poster and became a best-seller, further confirming her status as a sex symbol.
In 1982, she starred in Francis Ford Coppola's romantic musical One from the Heart, her first film made in the United States. Texas Monthly described her as acting "as a Felliniesque circus performer to represent the twinkling evanescence of Eros." The film failed at the box office and was a major loss for Coppola's new Zoetrope Studios. That year, she was also in the erotic horror movie Cat People. Dudley Moore's comedy Unfaithfully Yours and an adaptation of John Irving's The Hotel New Hampshire followed in 1984.
Kinski reteamed with Wenders for the 1984 film Paris, Texas. One of her most acclaimed films to date, it won the top award at the Cannes Film Festival. Throughout the 1980s, Kinski split her time between Europe and the United States, making Moon in the Gutter (1983), Harem (1985) and Torrents of Spring (1989) in Europe, and Exposed (1983), Maria's Lovers (1984) and Revolution (1985) in the United States.
During the 1990s, Kinski appeared in a number of American films, including the action movie Terminal Velocity opposite Charlie Sheen, the Mike Figgis 1997 adultery tale One Night Stand, Your Friends & Neighbors (1998), John Landis' Susan's Plan (1998), and The Lost Son (1999).
Her most recent films include David Lynch's Inland Empire (2006) and Rotimi Rainwater's Sugar (2013). In 2016, she competed in the German Let's Dance show.
In 1976, when Kinski was 15, she reportedly began a romantic relationship with then 43-year-old director Roman Polanski. In a 1999 Guardian interview, she was quoted as saying that there was categorically no affair and that, "There was a flirtation. There could have been a seduction, but there was not. He had respect for me."
In the mid-1980s, Kinski met the Egyptian filmmaker Ibrahim Moussa. They married on 10 September 1984. They have two children together; a son Aljosha (born 1984), and daughter Sonja Kinski (fr) (born 1986), who works as a model and actress. The marriage was dissolved in 1992. From 1992 until 1995, Kinski lived with musician Quincy Jones, though she kept her own apartment on Hilgard Avenue, near UCLA, at the time. In 1993, they had a daughter, Kenya Julia Miambi Sarah Jones, a model known professionally as Kenya Kinski-Jones.
In 2001, Kinski stated in an interview for The Daily Telegraph she was affected by the sleep disorder narcolepsy.
Nastassja Kinski supports the following charitable cause: Environment.