23 January 1928
Paris, Île-de-France, France
31 July 2017 (aged 89)
Jeanne Moreau (23 January 1928 – 31 July 2017) was a French actress, singer, screenwriter and director. She released several albums and once performed with Frank Sinatra at Carnegie Hall.
She won the Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actress for Seven Days… Seven Nights (1960), the BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actress for Viva Maria! (1965), and the César Award for Best Actress for The Old Lady Who Walked in the Sea (1992). She was also the recipient of several lifetime awards, including a BAFTA Fellowship in 1996.
Moreau made her theatrical debut in 1947, and established herself as one of the leading actresses of the Comédie-Française. She began playing small roles in films in 1949, impressing in a Fernandel vehicle Meutres? (Three Sinners, 1950), and alongside Jean Gabin as a showgirl/gangster's moll in the film Touchez Pas au Grisbi (1954). She achieved prominence as the star of Elevator to the Gallows (1958), directed by Louis Malle, and Jules et Jim (1962), directed by François Truffaut. Most prolific during the 1960s, Moreau continued to appear in films into her eighties.
In addition to acting, Moreau worked behind the camera, as a writer, director and producer. Her blended accomplishments were the subject of a film profile, Calling the Shots (1988), by Janis Cole and Holly Dale.
Throughout her life, Moreau maintained friendships with prominent writers such as Jean Cocteau, Jean Genet, Henry Miller and Marguerite Duras (an interview with Moreau is included in Duras's book Outside: Selected Writings). She was formerly married to Jean-Louis Richard (1949–1964) and then to American film director William Friedkin (1977–1979). Director Tony Richardson left his wife, Vanessa Redgrave, for her in 1967 but they never married. She also had affairs with directors Louis Malle and François Truffaut, fashion designer Pierre Cardin, jazz trumpeter Miles Davis and Theodoros Roubanis, the Greek actor/playboy.
Moreau was a close friend of Sharon Stone, who presented a 1998 American Academy of Motion Pictures life tribute to Moreau. Orson Welles called her "the greatest actress in the world", and she remained one of France's most accomplished actresses.
Moreau died on 31 July 2017, at the age of 89.
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