Jeanne Moreau

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Jeanne Moreau
San Sebastian Film Festival Jeanne Moureau crop 2.jpg
Born(1928-01-23) 23 January 1928 (age 87)
Paris, France
OccupationActress, screenwriter, film director
Years active1947–present
Spouse(s)Jean-Louis Richard (1949–separated 1951; divorced 1964) 1 son Jérôme[1]
Teodoro Rubanis (m.1966)
William Friedkin (1977–1979)
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Jeanne Moreau
San Sebastian Film Festival Jeanne Moureau crop 2.jpg
Born(1928-01-23) 23 January 1928 (age 87)
Paris, France
OccupationActress, screenwriter, film director
Years active1947–present
Spouse(s)Jean-Louis Richard (1949–separated 1951; divorced 1964) 1 son Jérôme[1]
Teodoro Rubanis (m.1966)
William Friedkin (1977–1979)

Jeanne Moreau (French pronunciation: ​[ʒan mɔʁo]; born 23 January 1928) is a French actress, singer, screenwriter and director. She is the recipient of a César Award for Best Actress, a BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actress and a Cannes Film Festival Best Actress Award for individual performances, and several lifetime awards.

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 and eventually achieved prominence as the star of Lift to the Scaffold (UK)/Elevator to the Gallows (USA) (1958), directed by Louis Malle and Jules et Jim (1962), directed by François Truffaut. Most prolific during the 1960s, Moreau continues to appear in films to the present day.

Early life and education[edit]

Moreau was born in Paris the daughter of Katherine (née Buckley), a dancer who performed at the Folies Bergère (d.1990), and Anatole-Désiré Moreau, a restaurateur (d.1975).[2][3] Moreau's father was French; her mother was English, a native of Lancashire in England, and of part-Irish descent.[3][4][5] Moreau's father was Catholic and her mother, originally a Protestant, converted to Catholicism upon marriage.[3] When a young girl, "the family moved south to Vichy, spending vacations at the ancestral village of Mazirat, a town of 30 houses in a valley in the Allier. 'It was wonderful there,' Jeanne says. 'Every tombstone in the cemetery was for a Moreau.'" During the war, the family was split and Moreau lived with her mother in Paris. Moreau ultimately lost interest in school at age 16 and, after attending Jean Anouilh's Antigone, found her calling as an actor. She later studied at the Conservatoire de Paris. Her parents separated permanently while Moreau was at the conservatory and her mother, "after 24 difficult years in France, returned to England with Jeanne's[1] younger[citation needed] sister, Michelle."[1]


Jeanne Moreau as depicted on the poster for Jules et Jim, 1962

In 1947, Moreau made her theatrical debut at the Avignon Festival. She debuted at the Comédie-Française in Ivan Turgenev's A Month in the Country[1] and, by her twenties, was already one of leading actresses in the theatre's troupe.[3] After 1949, she began appearing in films with small parts but continued primarily active in the theatre for several years—a year at the Théâtre National Populaire opposite among others Gérard Philipe and Robert Hirsch, then a breakout two years in dual roles in The Dazzling Hour by Anna Bonacci, then Jean Cocteau's La Machine Infernale and others before another two-year run, this time in Shaw's Pygmalion.[1] From the late 1950s, after appearing in several successful films, she began to work with the emerging generation of French film-makers. Elevator to the Gallows (1958) with first-time director Louis Malle was followed by Malle's The Lovers (Les Amants, 1959). The latter film, controversial in its day, led the media to tag her 'The New Bardot'.

Largely thanks to those films, Moreau went on to work with many of the best known New Wave and avant-garde directors.[3] François Truffaut's New Wave film Jules et Jim (1962), her biggest success internationally, is centred on her magnetic starring role.[3] She has also worked with a number of other notable directors such as Michelangelo Antonioni (La notte and Beyond the Clouds), Orson Welles (The Trial, Chimes at Midnight and The Immortal Story), Luis Buñuel (Diary of a Chambermaid), Elia Kazan (The Last Tycoon), Rainer Werner Fassbinder (Querelle), Wim Wenders (Until the End of the World), Carl Foreman (Champion and The Victors), and Manoel de Oliveira (Gebo et l'Ombre). In 1983 she was head of the jury at the 33rd Berlin International Film Festival.[6] In 2005, she was awarded with the Stanislavsky Award at the 27th Moscow International Film Festival.[7]

Moreau has enjoyed success as a vocalist. She has released several albums and once performed with Frank Sinatra at Carnegie Hall.[3] In addition to acting, Moreau has also worked behind the camera, as a writer, director and producer.[3] Her blended accomplishments were the subject of a 1988 film profile, Calling The Shots, by Janis Cole and Holly Dale.

Personal life[edit]

Jeanne Moreau and Amos Gitai during filming of Plus tard, 2008

Throughout her life, Moreau has 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 has been 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 has also had affairs with directors Louis Malle and François Truffaut, fashion designer Pierre Cardin,[8] jazz trumpeter Miles Davis and Theodoros Roubanis, the Greek actor/playboy.[9]

Moreau is 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",[10] and she remains one of France's most accomplished actresses.

Selected filmography[edit]


1953Dortoir des grandesJulieHenri Decoin
JuliettaRosie FacibeyMarc Allégret
1954Touchez pas au grisbiJosyJacques Becker
Les IntrigantesMona RémiHenri Decoin
La Reine MargotMargaret of ValoisJean Dréville
1958Ascenseur pour l'échafaudFlorence CaralaLouis Malle
The Lovers (Les amants)Jeanne Tournier
1959Les liaisons dangereusesJuliette de MerteuilRoger Vadim
The Four Hundred Blows(cameo appearance)François Truffaut
1960Le Dialogue des carmélitesMère Marie de l'IncarnationPhilippe Agostini
Moderato CantabileAnne DesbarèdesPeter Brook
1961A Woman Is a Woman(uncredited cameo, discussing Jules et Jim)Jean-Luc Godard
La NotteLidiaMichelangelo Antonioni
1962The TrialMiss BurstnerOrson Welles
Jules et JimCatherineFrançois Truffaut
EvaEva OlivierJoseph Losey
1963Banana Peel (Peau de banane)CathyMarcel Ophüls
The Victorsthe French ladyCarl Foreman
The Fire Within (Le feu follet)EvaLouis Malle
Bay of AngelsJacqueline "Jackie" DemaistreJacques Demy
1964Diary of a ChambermaidCélestineLuis Buñuel
The TrainChristineJohn Frankenheimer
The Yellow Rolls-RoyceEloise, Marchioness of FrintonAnthony Asquith
Mata-Hari (fr)Mata HariJean-Louis Richard
1965Viva Maria!Maria ILouis Malle
Chimes at MidnightDoll TearsheetOrson Welles
1966Mademoiselle"Mademoiselle"Tony Richardson
1967The Oldest Profession (episode "Mademoiselle Mimi")Mimi GuillotinePhilippe de Broca
The Sailor from GibraltarAnnaTony Richardson
1968The Immortal StoryVirginie DucrotOrson Welles
Great CatharineCatharineGordon Flemyng
The Bride Wore BlackJulie KohlerFrançois Truffaut
1970The Little Theatre of Jean Renoirthe singerJean Renoir
Monte WalshMartine BernardWilliam A. Fraker
1972Chère LouiseLouisePhilippe de Broca
Nathalie Granger"the other woman"Marguerite Duras
1974Les ValseusesJeanne PirolleBertrand Blier
1975Joanna FrancesaJoannaCacá Diegues
Hu-manSylvanaJérôme Laperrousaz
1976The Last TycoonDidiElia Kazan
Monsieur KleinFlorenceJoseph Losey
1982QuerelleLysianeRainer Werner Fassbinder
La TruiteLouJoseph Losey
1986Le Tiroir secret (TV miniseries)Vivi(different directors)
1987The MiracleSabineJean-Pierre Mocky
1990NikitaAmandeLuc Besson
Alberto Expressthe BaronessArthur Joffé
1991Anna Karamazoffthe LadyRustam Khamdamov
To meteoro vima tou pelargouthe LadyTheo Angelopoulos
The Old Lady Who Walked in the SeaLady MLaurent Heynemann
Until the End of the WorldEdith FarberWim Wenders
1993A Foreign FieldAngeliqueCharles Sturridge
Catherine the GreatEmpress Elizabeth PetrovnaMarvin J. Chomsky
Map of the Human HeartSister BanvilleVincent Ward
The Summer HouseLiliWaris Hussein
1995Beyond the Cloudsa LadyMichelangelo Antonioni and Wim Wenders
1996The ProprietorAdrienne MarkIsmail Merchant
I Love You, I Love You NotNanaBilly Hopkins
1997Witch Way LoveEglantineRené Manzor
1998Ever AfterMarie Thérèse of FranceAndy Tennant
2001Cet amour-là (fr)Marguerite DurasJosée Dayan
2003Love ActuallyLady at Marseilles Airport (Cameo)Richard Curtis
2005Time to LeaveLauraFrançois Ozon
The Accursed Kings (fr) (TV miniseries)Mahaut, Countess of ArtoisJosée Dayan
2006Roméo et JulietteLaurenceYves Desgagnés
2007DésengagementFrançoiseAmos Gitai
2009FaceJeanneMing-liang Tsai
2012Gebo et l'OmbreCandidinhaManoel de Oliveira
2012Une estonienne à Paris (fr)FridaIlmar Raag


Awards and nominations[edit]


2008César AwardsHonorary CésarLifetime achievementWon
2005Moscow International Film FestivalStanislavsky PrizeLifetime achievementWon
2003Cannes Film FestivalHonorary Golden PalmLifetime achievementWon
2003Taormina International Film FestivalTaormina Arte AwardLifetime achievementWon
2001Pusan International Film FestivalHand Printing (tribute)Lifetime achievementWon
2000Berlin International Film FestivalHonorary Golden Berlin BearLifetime achievementWon
1999Hamptons International Film FestivalDistinguished Achievement AwardLifetime achievementWon
1999Créteil International Women's Film FestivalHomageLifetime achievementWon
1998Academy of Motion Picture Arts and SciencesTributeLifetime achievementWon
1997European Film AwardsLife Achievement AwardLifetime achievementWon
1997San Sebastián International Film FestivalDonostia Lifetime Achievement AwardLifetime achievementWon
1996BAFTA AwardsAcademy FellowshipLifetime achievementWon
1995César AwardsHonorary CésarLifetime achievementWon
1994Women in Film Crystal AwardInternational AwardLifetime achievementWon
1992Venice Film FestivalCareer Golden LionLifetime achievementWon
1992César AwardsBest ActressThe Old Lady Who Walked in the SeaWon
1988César AwardsBest ActressLe MiraculéNominated
1987César AwardsBest Supporting ActressLe PaltoquetNominated
1984Razzie AwardsGolden Raspberry Award for Worst Original SongQuerelle – song: "Young and Joyful Bandit"Nominated
1979Berlin International Film FestivalGolden Berlin BearL'adolescenteNominated
1979Chicago International Film FestivalGold HugoL'adolescenteNominated
1976Chicago International Film FestivalGold HugoLumièreNominated
1976Taormina International Film FestivalGolden CharybdisLumièreNominated
1967BAFTA AwardsBest Foreign ActressViva Maria!Won
1964Karlovy Vary International Film FestivalBest ActressDiary of a ChambermaidWon
1963BAFTA AwardsBest Foreign ActressJules et JimNominated
1962Jussi AwardsDiploma of Merit – Foreign ActressLa notteWon
1961Fotogramas de PlataBest Foreign PerformerLe dialogue des CarmélitesWon
1960Cannes Film FestivalBest ActressModerato cantabileWon
1958Venice Film FestivalBest ActressLes amantsWon


1988Molière AwardsBest ActressLe Récit de la servante ZerlineWon


  1. ^ a b c d e Farrell, Barry, "Actresses: Making the Most of Love", Time cover story pp. 4–5, 5 March 1965. Retrieved 22 December 2010.
  2. ^ Jeanne Moreau Biography (1928–)
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Stated in interview at Inside the Actors Studio
  4. ^ Famous French people of immigrant origin, Eupedia : France Guide
  5. ^ Jeanne Moreau Biography – Yahoo! Movies
  6. ^ "Berlinale: 1983 Juries". Retrieved 14 November 2010. 
  7. ^ "27th Moscow International Film Festival (2005)". MIFF. Retrieved 13 April 2013. 
  8. ^ "Jeanne Moreau : bio de Jeanne Moreau". (in French). Archived from the original on 5 February 2009. Retrieved 17 March 2013. 
  9. ^ Roubanis was previously the companion of Henry Plumer McIlhenny. The relationship with McIlhenny was cited in Welsh and Tibbett's The Cinema of Tony Richardson(SUNY Press, 1999). Roubanis later married Lady Sarah Churchill.Lady Sarah Spencer-Churchill obituary, The Telegraph, 19 October 2000.
  10. ^ People | Jeanne Moreau

External links[edit]