Terrible news to report today. The great Israeli actress Ronit Elkabetz has passed away at only 51 years of age.
Her last film proved to be her biggest hit (Gett: The Trial of Viviane Absalem) -- we interviewed her right here -- but that courtroom drama was far from her only gem. We first fell (and fell hard) for the intense raven haired beauty in the astounding Late Marriage (2001) where she played the older woman in a sexually intense love affair with a slightly younger man (Lior Ashkenazi) whose parents were eager to marry him off to a "proper" bride and end his long-standing bachelordom. She won the Ophir (Israel's Academy Award) for that film, one of three wins for her as Best Actress.
She also starred in Or (My Treasure) (2004), the international hit The Band's Visit (2007), and other films in both France and Israel. In the past ten years she'd branched out from acting and with Gett she was directing and writing (along with her brother Shlomi), while continuing to dazzle in front of the camera. Awards groups took notice. She won prizes at the Hamptons, Chicago, Palm Springs, San Sebastian and Jerusalem film festivals for Gett and that last feature also resulted in multiple Ophir nods and a Golden Globe nomination for Best Foreign Film.
Elkabetz was battling cancer and is survived by her husband and three year old twins. She will most definitely be missed, her rich expanding career cut suddenly short.