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Bernadette Lafont

Bernadette Lafont

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: October 26, 1938 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: France Profession: Cast ... actor dancer
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BIOGRAPHY

A brunette bombshell who rose to fame in her homeland during the French New Wave, Bernadette Lafont is a French actress most closely associated with the films of renowned director Claude Chabrol. Her debut role came in an early short film by the legendary François Truffaut entitled "The Mischief Makers," and she firmly established her movie career with a leading turn in Chabrol's 1960 drama "The Good Time Girls." Staying active in subsequent decades and well into her 70s, Lafont rarely ventured outside of France, comfortable in her status as an esteemed national treasure.

Born in the French city of Nîmes, Bernadette Lafont started acting while still in her teens, garnering her screen debut in 1957's "The Mischief Makers" (or "The Kids"), one of the first short films by young director François Truffaut. Shot on location in her hometown, the brief tale featured a group of infatuated youngsters following her lovely character and her boyfriend around the city, resulting in a charming slice-of-life story that touched on some of the same themes as Truffaut's revered full-length debut, "The 400 Blows," which surfaced two years later. Lafont's alluring screen presence led to her first starring role in 1960's "The Good Time Girls," an unconventional romance-tinged drama about a group of restless Parisian beauties by Truffaut's French New Wave peer Claude Chabrol.

Lafont went on to collaborate with Chabrol numerous times, but she also stayed in the sphere of Truffaut, yet again portraying an object of fascination in the filmmaker's lesser-known 1972 crime drama "Such a Gorgeous Girl Like Me." A year later, she worked with celebrated Truffaut regular Jean-Pierre Léaud in the provocative movie "The Mother and the Whore." In 1986, she won a César Award for Best Supporting Actress for her turn in Claude Miller's thoughtful "L'effrontée," which also featured a young Charlotte Gainsbourg. Continuing to appear in Chabrol productions throughout the years, Lafont was nominated for another Best Supporting Actress César Award for the filmmaker's 1987 comedy "Masques."

Shifting more to television work in the 1990s, Lafont largely appeared in maternal supporting parts in her later career but rarely slowed her pace, with numerous productions under her belt almost every year. Even as a still-striking silver-haired septuagenarian, Lafont remained a regular presence on television and in films, notably voicing a major character in the Academy Award-nominated animated movie "A Cat in Paris" (2010) and showing up in Julie Delpy's quirky 2011 comedy "Le Skylab." She returned to the spotlight in "Paulette," a 2012 comedy starring Lafont as a struggling pastry chef who resorts to selling marijuana to make ends meet.

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