Israeli actor Ronit Elkabetz, who was as much popular in France as her native country Israel, passed away on Tuesday at the age of 51, her agent said. She was suffering from cancer.
A mother of two, the actor, screenwriter and director appeared in films including The Girl on the Train alongside Catherine Deneuve and Ashes and Blood. Her last film Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem, which she co-directed with her brother Shlomi Elkabetz, was nominated in the foreign language category for the 2015 Golden Globe Awards.
Elkabetz, who had never taken acting classes, received numerous awards in Israel and abroad as both an actor and director. She was born in 1964 in southern Israel, with her parents Jews of Moroccan origin.
A striking woman with a pale complexion and long black hair, Elkabetz began her career as a model before turning to acting, winning the Israeli equivalent of the Oscar, the Ophir award, three times.
Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev said Elkabetz’s death “pained and shocked us all”.
“Creation was a calling for her, she was a role model and social moral compass on the painful and sensitive issues of the Israeli and Jewish societies. “This is a huge loss for cinema and Israeli culture,” Regev wrote on her Facebook page.
Elkabetz will be buried in Tel Aviv on Wednesday afternoon after a memorial ceremony at the city’s Cinematheqeu.
Watch the trailer of The Girl on the Train here: