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Miou-Miou shooting in Paris 1973
Miou-Miou shooting in Paris 1973 with Bertrand Blier

Miou-Miou (born Sylvette Herry on 22 February 1950) is a French actress. In her career she has worked with a number of international directors, including Michel Gondry, Bertrand Blier, Yves Boisset, Claude Berri, Jacques Deray, Michel Deville, Diane Kurys, Radu Mihăileanu, Patrice Leconte, Joseph Losey and Louis Malle.[1]



She was born Sylvette Herry in Paris, France. Her stage name, Miou-Miou (a reference to the sound of a cat), was given to her by Coluche. She was raised in Paris by her mother, a greengrocer. After studying acting she worked in improvisational theater with Coluche and Patrick Dewaere, joining with them to help found the new comedy theatre Café de la Gare.[2] She made her film debut in La vie sentimentale de Georges Le Tueur and La Cavale (both 1971).[3]

She showed a mixture of innocence and strength in her roles. In 1973 she appeared in three films, Elle court, elle court la banlieue, Les granges brulées and Les aventures de Rabbi Jacob. Her big break came with Blier's Les Valseuses (Going Places), released in 1974. After her role in Les valseuses, she began getting leading roles in comedy and drama. Through the 1970s, she had roles in such films as F...Like Fairbanks (1976), Alain Tanner's Jonah Who Will Be 25 in the Year 2000 (1976), Losey's Roads to the South (1978) and La dérobade (Memoirs of a French Whore, 1979) directed by Daniel Duval, in which she portrayed a young prostitute. She received a César Award for that role. Many of these 1970s films were seen in North America in art-house venues. In 1976 she appeared in one of the last spaghetti westerns, Damiano Damiani's A Genius, Two Friends, and an Idiot.

She is known for her relationships with actor Patrick Dewaere, who is the father of her first child Angèle, and with the singer Julien Clerc, with whom she had a second daughter, Jeanne and a son Laurent

By 2006 she had 70 films to her credit. Through the 1980s she was convincing in such films as La gueule du loup (1981), Guy de Maupassant (1982), Kurys' Entre nous (1983) with Isabelle Huppert, Blanche et Marie (1984), Evening Dress (1986), and Deville's La lectrice (The Reader, 1988). She played opposite Lee Marvin (in one of his last roles) in Boisset’s unfortunate Dog Day in 1984.

The 1990s saw her in Louis Malle's May Fools (1990), Deray's thriller Netchaïev is back, the comedy Un indien dans la ville (1994), and The Eighth Day (1996) and Dry Cleaning in 1997. She appeared opposite Gerard Depardieu in a new production of Émile Zola's Germinal (1993). By now in her fifties, her film roles have abated, as she also began to appear in theatre.[2] 2001 saw her in Agathe et le grand magasin and in 2004 she appeared in L'après-midi de monsieur Andesmas, among other films.

Miou-Miou does not consider herself a "star". She was quoted as saying in 1989, "I turned down dinner with Mickey Rourke. Because he's a star. To me, a star is inaccessible, mysterious, an impossible dream — and should stay that way. Adjani's a star. Deneuve's a star. Not me."[4]

Partial filmography

YearTitleEnglish titleRole
2009Le Concert[5]Le ConcertGuylène de La Rivière
2008L'Hôte[6]The GuestCatherine (lead)
2008Affaire de famille[7]Family AffairLaure Guignebont (lead)
2008Le Grand Alibi[8]ClueÉliane Pagès(lead)
2006Le Héros de la familleFamily HeroSimone Garcia
2006La Science des rêvesThe Science of SleepChristine Miroux
2006AvrilApril in LoveSoeur Bernadette/Flora Romano
2003Folle Embellie-Alida
1997Nettoyage à secDry CleaningNicole
1996Le Huitième JourThe Eighth DayJulie
1994Un indien dans la villeAn Indian in ParisPatricia
1991La Totale!The Jackpot!Hélène Voisin
1990Milou en MaiMay FoolsCamille
1988La LectriceThe ReaderConstance/Marie
1986Tenue de SoiréeEvening DressMonique
1984Vol du sphinxFlight of the PhoenixLaura
1984CaniculeDog DayJessica
1983Coup de Foudre or Entre NousAt First SightMadeleine
1983Guy de MaupassantGuy de MaupassantGisèle d'Estoc
1980La Femme flicThe Woman CopInspector Corinne Levasseur
1979La DérobadeMemoirs of a French WhoreMarie
1979Traffic JamAngela
1977Dites-lui que je l'aimeThe Sweet SicknessJuliette
1976On aura tout vuThe Bottom LineChristine
1976F... comme FairbanksF... Like FairbanksMarie
1976Jonas qui aura 25 ans en l'an 2000Jonah Who Will Be 25 in the Year 2000Marie
1976Un Genio, due compari, un pollo (It.)A Genius, Two Partners and a Dupe aka A Genius, Two Friends, and an Idiot and Nobody is the GreatestLucy
1975Lily, aime-moiThe girl in the coffee-shop
1974Les ValseusesGoing PlacesMarie-Ange
1973Elle court, elle court la banlieueThe Suburbs Are Everywhereminor role
1973Les granges bruléesThe Burned BarnsMonique
1973Les aventures de Rabbi JacobThe Adventures of Rabbi JacobAntoinette Pivert
1971La vie sentimentale de Georges Le TueurThe Sentimental Life of George le Tour-
1971La CavaleOn the Lam-


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