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Capucine 1962.jpg
Capucine on 25 April 1962
BornGermaine Hélène Irène Lefebvre
(1928-01-06)6 January 1928
Saint-Raphaël, Var, France
Died17 March 1990(1990-03-17) (aged 62)
Lausanne, Switzerland
Cause of death
OccupationModel, actress
Years active1948–1990
Spouse(s)Pierre Trabaud (1950–1950)
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Capucine 1962.jpg
Capucine on 25 April 1962
BornGermaine Hélène Irène Lefebvre
(1928-01-06)6 January 1928
Saint-Raphaël, Var, France
Died17 March 1990(1990-03-17) (aged 62)
Lausanne, Switzerland
Cause of death
OccupationModel, actress
Years active1948–1990
Spouse(s)Pierre Trabaud (1950–1950)

Capucine (6 January 1928 – 17 March 1990)[1] was a French fashion model and actress known for her comedic roles in The Pink Panther (1963) and What's New Pussycat? (1965). She appeared in 36 films and 17 television productions between 1948 and 1990.

Early life[edit]

Capucine was born Germaine Hélène Irène Lefebvre in Saint-Raphaël, Var, France,[1][2] on 6 January 1928. She often confused the issue of her birth by claiming that she was born in 1931 or 1933, and most sources indicate those years. She attended school in Saumur, France, and received a B.A. in foreign languages.[3] At age 17, while riding in a carriage in Paris, she was noticed by a commercial photographer.

She became a fashion model, working for fashion houses Givenchy and Christian Dior.[3] She adopted the name, "Capucine" (French for nasturtium). She met Audrey Hepburn while modeling for Givenchy in Paris. The two would remain close friends for the rest of Capucine's life.[4]


From the trailer for The Pink Panther (1963)

In 1949, Capucine made her film debut in the French film Rendez-vous de Juillet.

In 1957, film producer Charles K. Feldman spotted Capucine while she was modeling in New York City. Feldman brought her to Hollywood to learn English and study acting under Gregory Ratoff.[5] She was signed to a contract with Columbia Pictures in 1958 and landed her first English-speaking role in the film Song Without End (1960) for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award.

Over the next few years, Capucine made six more major motion pictures. They included North to Alaska (1960), a comedy, as a prostitute who becomes the love interest of John Wayne, and Walk on the Wild Side (1962), in which she portrayed a redeemed hooker, before moving to Switzerland in 1962.[6]

Much of 1963's hit film The Pink Panther was shot in Europe. A crime comedy that led to a number of sequels, the film starred David Niven and Peter Sellers along with Capucine. She continued making films in Europe until her death.[2]

Personal life[edit]

On the set of Rendez-vous (1949), she met Pierre Trabaud; they married the next year. The marriage lasted only eight months, and Capucine never married again.[7]

She had an affair with Charles K. Feldman.

She later met actor William Holden in the early 1960s. They starred in the films The Lion (1962) and The 7th Dawn (1964). Holden was married to Brenda Marshall, but the two began a two-year affair. After the affair ended, she and Holden remained friends until Holden's death in 1981.[8]


On 17 March 1990, Capucine jumped to her death from her eighth-floor apartment in Lausanne, Switzerland, where she had lived for 28 years, having reportedly suffered from illness and depression for some time.[1][9]

Selected filmography[edit]

1949Rendez-vous de JuilletUne amie de PierreUncredited
1951Bernard and the LionLa baronne
1955Mademoiselle de ParisAlternative title: Mademoiselle from Paris
1955Frou-FrouUne amie d'Arthus, le peintre
1960Song Without EndPrincess Carolyne zu Sayn-Wittgenstein
1960North to AlaskaMichelle 'Angel' Bonet
1961Le triomphe de Michel StrogoffTatoa, a VolskayaAlternative title: The Triumph of Michael Strogoff
1962Walk on the Wild SideHallie Gerard
1962The LionChristine
1962I dongiovanni della Costa AzzurraAlternative title: Beach Casanova
1963The Pink PantherSimone Clouseau
1964The 7th DawnDhana Mercier
1965What's New Pussycat?Renée Lefebvre
1966Le fate (film)Marta
1967The Honey PotPrincess Dominique
1969Fräulein DoktorDr. Saforet
1971Red SunPepita
1972SearchSilvana TristanoEpisode: "The Murrow Disappearance"
1976For LoveMarina Reggiani
1976The Con ArtistsBelle DukeAlternative titles: Bluff, The Con Man
1977Portrait of a Bourgeois in BlackAmalia Mazzarini
1978Neapolitan MysterySister Angela
1979Arabian AdventureVahishta
1982AphroditeLady Suzanne Stanford
1982Trail of the Pink PantherLady Simone Litton
1982Hart to HartLily Von BorgEpisode: "Hart of Diamonds"
1983Curse of the Pink PantherLady Simone Litton
1985Murder, She WroteBelle ChaneyEpisode: "Paint Me a Murder"
1987Delirium: Photo of GioiaFlora
1987I miei primi 40 anni (it)Principessa Caracciolo
1990Blaues BlutGräfin von AltenbergUnknown episodes

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Donnelley, Paul (2005-11-01). Fade to Black: A Book of Movie Obituaries (3 ed.). Omnibus Press. p. 236. ISBN 1-84449-430-6. 
  2. ^ a b Marshall, Bill; Johnston, Cristina (2005). France and the Americas: Culture, Politics, and History : A Multidisciplinary Encyclopedia 3. ABC-CLIO. pp. 211–212. ISBN 1-85109-411-3. 
  3. ^ a b Segrave, Kerry; Martin, Linda (1990). The Continental Actress: European Film Stars Of the Postwar Era--Biographies, Criticism, Filmographies, Bibliographies. McFarland. p. 155. ISBN 0-899-50510-4. 
  4. ^ Paris, Barry (2002). Audrey Hepburn. Berkley Pub Group. p. 319. ISBN 0-425-18212-6. 
  5. ^ Monush, Barry (2003). Screen World Presents the Encyclopedia of Hollywood Film Actors: From the Silent Era to 1965. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 109. ISBN 1-55783-551-9. 
  6. ^ Erickson, Hal. "Capucine". Allmovie. 
  7. ^ Capua, Michelangelo (2010). William Holden: A Biography. McFarland. p. 123. ISBN 0-786-44440-1. 
  8. ^ Strodder, Chris (2000). Swingin' Chicks Of the Sixties. Cedco Pub. p. 112. ISBN 0-7683-2232-4. 

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