Christine Maria Kaufmann (11 January 1945 – 28 March 2017) was a German-Austrian actress, author, and businesswoman. The daughter of a German father and a French mother, she won the Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actress for Town Without Pity in 1961, the first German to be so honoured.
Christine Kaufmann was born in Lengdorf, Styria, Austria, then part of Nazi Germany. Her mother, Geneviève Kaufmann, was a French make-up artist; her father, Johannes Kaufmann, was a German Luftwaffe officer and engineer.
Growing up in Munich, Bavaria, Kaufmann became a ballerina at the Munich Opera. She began her film career at the age of seven in The White Horse Inn (1952) and appeared as a lead actress in Der Schweigende Engel the same year, but gained big attention with Rose-Girl Resli in 1954. She achieved international recognition when she starred with Steve Reeves in The Last Days of Pompeii (1959) and with Kirk Douglas in Town Without Pity (1961).
In 1962, Christine Kaufmann met Tony Curtis while filming Taras Bulba, and they married in 1963 when Kaufmann was 18. They had two daughters and divorced in 1968.
After her divorce, Kaufmann resumed her career, acting in dozens of films and tv series, notably the supporting roles in the Rainer Werner Fassbinder films Lili Marleen and Lola. She often worked with German director Helmut Dietl, for example in the satirical television series Monaco Franze (Der ewige Stenz).
Kaufmann married three more times: to television director Achim Lenz (1974–76), musician and actor Reno Eckstein (1979-1982) and illustrator Klaus Zey (1997-2011).
She spoke three languages: her native language German, English, and French. and she enjoyed traveling and moved from one place to another frequently—a pattern that she believed she had inherited from her Circassian forefathers.
In 2014, Christine Kaufmann played Aunt Polly in the German version of American film Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn. It would be her last acting role.
In her later years, Kaufmann was also a successful businesswoman; she promoted her own line of cosmetics products that sold well in Germany. From her 40s until her death, the media often called Kaufmann the "most beautiful grandmother in Germany".She wrote several books about beauty and health, as well as two autobiographies.
On 28 March 2017 Kaufmann died of leukaemia in Munich at age 72, only a few days after she had been diagnosed with the disease.