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Jeanne Moreau

Jeanne Moreau

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: January 23, 1928 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Paris, FR Profession: actor, screenwriter, director

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Jeanne Moreau was the sort of talent that could generate hyperbolic labels like "the world's greatest actress," which was how no less an authority than Orson Welles described her. For a half-century, Moreau constantly set the bar for performances by female actresses with her fearless, deeply emotive and passionate turns in such bona fide classics as "Elevator to the Gallows" (1958), "Jules and Jim" (1960), "The Trial" (1961), "Diary of a Chambermaid" (1964), "The Bride Wore Black" (1968), "Querelle" (1982) and countless others. The list of legendary directors who queued up to add her earthy sensuality and versatility to their films included figures like Welles, Francois Truffaut, Louis Malle, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Wim Wenders, Luc Besson and Tony Richardson. But despite the quality of her performances, Moreau was largely unknown to mass audiences, especially in America, where she was generally regarded as an art house figure. More mainstream moviegoers knew her as Cinderella's great-granddaughter in "Ever After" (1998) than for "Jules and Jim." If the anonymity bothered Moreau, it never showed; she simply continued to give life-affirming performances well into her eighties while dabbling in work...

Jeanne Moreau was the sort of talent that could generate hyperbolic labels like "the world's greatest actress," which was how no less an authority than Orson Welles described her. For a half-century, Moreau constantly set the bar for performances by female actresses with her fearless, deeply emotive and passionate turns in such bona fide classics as "Elevator to the Gallows" (1958), "Jules and Jim" (1960), "The Trial" (1961), "Diary of a Chambermaid" (1964), "The Bride Wore Black" (1968), "Querelle" (1982) and countless others. The list of legendary directors who queued up to add her earthy sensuality and versatility to their films included figures like Welles, Francois Truffaut, Louis Malle, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Wim Wenders, Luc Besson and Tony Richardson. But despite the quality of her performances, Moreau was largely unknown to mass audiences, especially in America, where she was generally regarded as an art house figure. More mainstream moviegoers knew her as Cinderella's great-granddaughter in "Ever After" (1998) than for "Jules and Jim." If the anonymity bothered Moreau, it never showed; she simply continued to give life-affirming performances well into her eighties while dabbling in work behind the camera on several occasions. Moreau was one of the few actresses whose work remained consistently top-notch for the entirety of her career, with bit parts and cameos as well-crafted as her leading roles. In doing so, she cemented her status as one of the cinema's greatest actors.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Lillian Gish (1983) Director
2.
  Adolescent, The (1979) Director
3.
  Lumiere (1976) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Lady in Paris, A (2012)
3.
 Carmel (2009)
5.
 Face (2009)
7.
9.
 Disengagement (2007)
10.
 Go West (2006)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Grew up living part of the time in Paris, and part of the time in Mazirat, her father's native village
:
Along with mother, was forced to stay in Paris during WWII; classified as an "enemy alien"
1947:
Acted in Avignon Theater Festival
1947:
Became the youngest person ever admitted to membership in the Comedie Francaise; first play with the company, "A Month in the Country," directed by Jean Meyer
1948:
Feature film debut, "Dernier amour"
1951:
Acted with the Theatre National Populaire
1956:
Acted in director Peter Brook's French production of "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof"
1958:
Achieved prominence in cinema with performances in Louis Malle's "Ascenseur pour l'echafaud/Elevator to the Gallows" and "Les amants/The Lovers"
1960:
First English-language film, "Five Branded Women," an Italian-Yugoslavian-U.S. co-production
1961:
International star status confirmed with appearance in Francois Truffaut's "Jules et Jim/Jules and Jim"
1963:
First (primarily) American film production, "The Victors"
:
Served as editor-in-chief of the audiovisual magazine <i>IN</i>
1974:
Returned to the stage after many years to act in "La chevauchee sur le lac de Constance/The Ride Across Lake Constance"
1975:
Served as president of the jury of the 28th International Cannes Film Festival
1975:
Featured as subject of the short film "Chroniques de France ¿ Jeanne Moreau," directed by Renaud de Dancourt
1976:
Feature directorial debut, "Lumiere/Light"; also wrote the screenplay and starred in
1979:
Directed second feature "L'Adolescente"
1982:
Founded production company Capella Films
1983:
Film producing debut, the documentary featurette (54 minutes) "Lillian Gish"; also directed
1984:
Earliest TV work included the French-made "L'arbre" and the British-made "Vicious Circle"
1985:
Made U.S. stage debut acting in Baltimore production of "The Night of the Iguana"
1988:
Narrated "Hotel Terminus: Klaus Barbie, His Life and Times"
1992:
Starred in "The Summer House," renewing interest of American audience
1994:
Starred in TV film "A Foreign Field" (PBS)
1995:
Named as president of the jury of the 48th International Cannes Film Festival
1996:
Appeared in "The Proprietor," directed by Ismael Merchant
1998:
Honored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (October)
2000:
Appeared in the miniseries "Les Misérables" (Fox Family Channel) opposite Gérard Depardieu
2006:
Cast in François Ozon's "Time to Leave"
2008:
Starred in the drama "One Day You'll Understand"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Lycee Edgar-Quinet: - 1941
Conservatoire National d'Art Dramatique: - 1946

Notes

She served as president of the French Film Advances Commission from 1993-94.

Served as president of a French screenwriting workshop.

Moreau was announced to play the recurring guest role of the mother of Dr. Elizabeth Corday on the NBC series "ER" beginning in 2000. She arrived for the first day of shooting but left over "creative differences".

"She's very strong and very fragile. Both, and very fast. Strong, and a minute later a fragility." --Anna Praedella, Moreau's housekeeper, to THE NEW YORK TIMES, October 6, 1996

"The one essential quality that defines Jeanne is courage... She is not a gentle person. She's violent, extreme." --longtime friend Florence Malraux o THE NEW YORK TIMES, October 6, 1996

"I am my past, I am my present, and I carry my future within me. You can't stay put; the world is constantly changing. I'm open to anything--and that's how I've met so many beautiful people and had so many incredible experiences." --Jeanne Moreau in LOS ANGELES TIMES, October 6, 1996

"Acting is a craft, and the more you age, the better you are, the better you can express deep feelings." --Moreau to DAILY NEWS, February 23, 1994

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Jean-Louis Richard. Director. Married in 1949; separated c. 1951; divorced.
companion:
Louis Malle. Director. Involved in the late 1950s.
companion:
Francois Truffaut. Director.
companion:
Tony Richardson. Director. Involved in the mid-1960s.
husband:
Teodora Rubanis. Divorced in 1977.
husband:
William Friedkin. Director. Married in 1977; divorced in 1980.
VIEW COMPLETE COMPANION LISTING

Family close complete family listing

father:
Anatole Moreau. Restaurateur.
mother:
Katherine Buckley. Dancer. Born in Lancashire, England; danced in the Folies Bergere; after parents separated in the late 1940s, Moreau's mother returned to England.
son:
Jerome Richard. From first marriage.

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