Groundbreaking Moroccan-Israeli actress Ronit Elkabetz dies at age 51
Elkabetz began her career in modeling but later found success in 1990 with her first starring role in 'The Intended'. (Forward.com)
Elkabetz began her career in modeling but later found success in 1990 with her first starring role in 'The Intended'.
Renowned actress and filmmaker Ronit Elkabetz died Tuesday morning, succumbing to cancer at the age of 51. She is survived by her husband and two children.
Born in Beersheba in 1964 to parents of Moroccan decent, she was the oldest of four siblings.
Elkabetz began her career in modeling but later found cinematic success in 1990 with her first starring role in The Intended. She later won the first of three (Israeli Film Academy) Ophir awards in 1994 as the lead actress in Sh'Chur.
Elkabetz also enjoyed success internationally, namely in France where she starred in a number of films and theater shows. In 1997, Elkabetz moved to Paris where she studied under Ariane Mnouchkine in her avant-garde stage ensemble Théâtre du Soleil. In 2001 she starred in the French film Origine contrôlée.
In 2004 Elkabetz wrote, directed and starred in the film To Take a Wife, a semi-autobiographical drama and the first film of a trilogy about a woman in an unhappy marriage. It was followed by Shiva and Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem in 2014.
Director Amos Gitai, who worked with Elkabetz, said in an interview with Army Radio Tuesday morning: "It's no wonder she captivated the world's attention, she was loved by everyone... she was simply spectacular."
Former president Shimon Peres mourned the death of Elkabetz , calling her "an extraordinary cultural ambassador for the state of Israel."
Peres said that "on the various stages of the world, Ronit represented the citizens of Israel and the state of Israel with great pride, creativity and beauty."
The former president referred to Elkabetz as "a special personality, who combined writing talent and acting with her unique signature."
Elkabetz's coffin will be on display for public viewing at the Cinemateque theater in Tel Aviv on Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Her funeral will take place at the Kiryat Shaul cemetery in the city at 3 p.m.