Catherine Deneuve

Catherine Deneuve


Also Known As
Catherine Fabienne Dorleac
Birth Place
Paris, FR
October 22, 1943


A paradigm of Gallic beauty, Catherine Deneuve's flawless features and chilly onscreen persona made her the art house muse of Europe's greatest directors and an unrelenting object of desire for men the world over. Though her talent was undisputed, it was often overshadowed by her extraordinary beauty. Any doubts that she was fated to be a star were dispelled once Jacques Demy cast her in...

Family & Companions

Roger Vadim
Director. Met in 1961.
David Bailey
Photographer, filmmaker. Married in 1965; separated in 1970; divorced in 1972; died February 11, 2000.
Francois Truffaut
Marcello Mastroianni
Actor. Together from 1971 to 1975.


She has her own line of beauty products, Deneuve perfumes

"When we speak of Deneuve, we don't speak of a myth, but of an ideal." --French actress Sandrine Bonnaire


A paradigm of Gallic beauty, Catherine Deneuve's flawless features and chilly onscreen persona made her the art house muse of Europe's greatest directors and an unrelenting object of desire for men the world over. Though her talent was undisputed, it was often overshadowed by her extraordinary beauty. Any doubts that she was fated to be a star were dispelled once Jacques Demy cast her in his critically acclaimed feature film musical "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg" (1964). Three years later, the French actress became an international movie star after starring as a bored housewife who fulfills her sexual fantasies while working as an afternoon call girl in Luis Bunuel's classic, "Belle de Jour" (1967). Living a glamorous life filled with more than its share of drama and passion, the great beauty proved herself a great artist as well, particularly as she aged and played down that which had made her famous.

The third child of four daughters, she was born Catherine Fabienne Dorleac on Oct. 22, 1943 in Paris, France to stage actors Maurice Dorleac and Renee Deneuve. Unlike her extroverted sister, Francoise, who was one year her senior, Deneuve's interests lied more with graphic art than acting, but her stunning features and family history would dictate her fate in front of the camera. She first waded into the acting pool as a teenager when Francoise convinced Deneuve to audition for the part of her sister in the feature film, "Les Portes Claquent" (1960). The experience did little to convince the shy teen that she wanted to make acting a habit. In spite of her indifference, success came quickly. If that was not enough to persuade her, then an encounter with a famous French director would.

Roger Vadim - former husband of famous French sex kitten Brigitte Bardot and American actress Jane Fonda - was a known as a bit of a Svengali with a reputation for attracting beautiful younger women, despite his own peculiar visage. Stunning and only 17 years old, Deneuve fit Vadim's requirements perfectly. He was 32 years old when he began romancing the teenage starlet, so it was not long before Deneuve left the close-knit confines of her parent's home to live with the possessive director. Deeply in love with Vadim, it was because of him that Deneuve made a possibly life altering decision. She dyed her naturally brown hair to blonde to please her man, thus unwittingly cementing her destiny as one of the most sought after, yet elusive blonde goddesses in French cinema history. In 1963, Vadim directed Deneuve in the disappointing "La Vice et la Vertu," in which the still green actress gave a rare bland performance, as Justine, the beacon of innocence and virtue versus evil, in a script loosely inspired by the Marquis de Sade and set during the Nazi occupation of Paris in 1944.

While there was no shortage of starring roles with world renowed directors, Deneuve's personal life ran less smoothly. At the age of 19, she found herself pregnant with Vadim's child. Just month after giving birth to their son, Christian, in 1963, the relationship with Vadim ended, leaving her to face the daunting task of raising a child as a single mother. In an ironic twist of fate, her real life began to resemble her art, as Deneuve soon began filming "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg," portraying a young girl who enters a loveless marriage with a rich man, after she is left pregnant and alone when her boyfriend is sent to war (1964). The experience of being able to channel her own pain and fears into her performance suddenly ignited within her a newfound passion for acting.

Controversial director, Roman Polanski was no different than the rest of Europe's hot directors, in his desire to work with the young and relatively inexperienced actress. In her English speaking film debut, he cast Deneuve in his thriller masterpiece "Repulsion" (1965). In it, Deneuve delivered a creepy performance, as Carol, a sexually repressed, paranoid schizophrenic, whose descent into madness results with her murdering men who lust after her.

In 1967, Deneuve was having a landmark year, hitting amazing career highs and suffering unspeakable personal lows. She starred in the most iconic role of her career in "Belle de Jour," confirming her as not only a movie star, but as a fashion icon as well. She was not only the fantasy of Europe's greatest directors; she also became the muse of legendary fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, who was inspired by Deneuve after designing her timelessly chic wardrobe for "Belle de Jour." That same year, she co-starred with her sister Francois Dorleac in "The Young Girls of Rochefort," (1967), directed by one of her favorite filmmakers, Jacques Demy.

At the age of just 24, Deneuve was already a major movie star and sitting on top of the world. However, that same year, she would suffer one of the greatest losses of her young life when her beloved older sister, Francois, was killed in a fatal car accident on the French Riviera at the age of 25. The sisters were extremely close and Deneuve was devastated. Despite her grief - or perhaps because of it - Deneuve barely paused to catch her breath in the wake of her sister's death, working continuously. Though Deneuve found Spanish director, Luis Bunuel, difficult to work with the first time, she wisely reteamed with her "Belle de Jour" director in "Tristana" (1970). Yet again, she expertly portrayed the innocent beauty exploited by a lecherous older man; however, unlike in "Belle," this time her character achieved independence and eventually exacted revenge on the man who exploited her. Critics raved and the film garnered an Academy Award nomination for "Best Foreign Language Film."

With her career at its peak, Deneuve shifted focus to finding true love - someone who could love her for her and not the larger-than-life Venus on the screen. Never suffering from a shortage of male companionship, Deneuve was pursued relentlessly by all manner of men. However, getting a relationship to stick was another story. In 1965, she married hipster British photographer David Bailey. They separated in 1970, officially divorcing in 1972. By that time, Deneuve had already moved on to a very public affair with her married "La Cagna" (1971) co-star, Marcello Mastroianni. That same year, Deneuve gave birth for the second time, to their daughter Chiara Mastroianni. The relationship with Mastroianni hit a wall in 1975, but the two remained friends until his death in 1996, when Deneuve and their daughter both sat at his bedside to bid him goodbye. Not all men were durable enough to withstand Deneuve's intoxicating charms. Such was the case for director, Francoise Truffaut. Exactly when Truffaut and Deneuve had an affair was unclear, but reportedly he had a nervous breakdown when she ended the relationship. It was perhaps around that time when Truffaut cast Deneuve in one of her few villainous roles, playing a mail order bride who absconds with her naïve husband's money in "Mississippi Mermaid" (1969).

The 1970s found the constantly employed actress adding model to her resume when she signed on as the face of Chanel No 5. The campaign was a huge success around the world; particularly in the U.S., where sales soared. In the ensuing decades, Deneuve's enduring beauty would continue to win her lucrative endorsement deals. At the unheard of age of 62, she inked a deal with Mac Cosmetics in 2006, and a year later, nabbed a contract modeling for Louis Vuitton.

Americans were so intrigued with the French beauty that the American press nominated her as the world's most elegant woman. Deneuve made a few attempts at acting in American films, but despite her stardom in France and America's fascination with the face of Chanel, Deneuve and Hollywood never totally clicked. In 1969, she had starred with Jack Lemmon in the comedy "The April Fools" (1969), as a couple who fall in love with each other, but with one caveat - they are unhappily married to other people, The film did little to raise Deneuve's profile in the states, but six years later, she returned to U.S. theaters as half of one of the most mismatched pairs in film history when she co-starred with Burt Reynolds in the crime drama, "Hustle" (1975). Though the reviews were decent, it barely made a dent at the box office.

By 1980, Francoise Truffaut had recovered from his breakup with Deneuve enough to direct her in "The Last Metro" (1980). Set in Paris during the Nazi occupation, Deneuve played a woman trying to conceal her Jewish husband from the Nazis while also trying to keep the rest of their lives afloat. The film won an Academy Award for "Best Foreign Language Film" and Deneuve took home the French Cesar for Best Actress.

Deneuve's third Hollywood strike was in 1983 when she leapt at the chance to star as a seductive vampire in the slick Tony Scott feature, "The Hunger" (1983). Deneuve and David Bowie portrayed a stylish, vampire couple living in Manhattan who set out in search of new blood; they soon meet and seduce Sarah (Susan Sarandon), making her one of the un-dead. For once, Deneuve was playing the powerful seducer and not the seduced. Critics generally hated the movie, but it developed a cult following among Goths and lesbians for its dark tone and Sapphic love scenes between Deneuve and Sarandon.

After her uneventful forays into Hollywood, Deneuve was always happy to return to her homeland and her usual fare of art house projects. It was, after all, where her best roles came from. As was the case in 1992 when, at the age of 49, she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture for her portrayal of a plantation owner in 1930s Indochina in "Indochine" (1992). Deneuve lost the statue to Emma Thompson for her role in "Howard's End," but "Indochine" took the Oscar and the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film and Deneuve won a Cesar for Best Actress.

By the late 1990s, she was well past the age when most American actresses would be virtually forced into retirement. Fortunately, for Deneuve, the French were more forgiving of women over 30 and she continued working at her usual productive pace. Still beautiful, yet no longer defined by her beauty, Deneuve was finally free to take on roles other than of the fantasy woman. That was never more clear than when she co-starred in "Dancer in the Dark" (2000) with the eccentric Icelandic singer, Bjork, in which she portrayed the singer's factory worker sidekick, of all things. Deneuve had seen director Lars Von Trier's "Breaking the Waves" (1996) and was so impressed with the Danish director; she wrote him a letter requesting a part in one of his upcoming projects. He obliged, and her performance provided further proof - though none was needed by this time of her life - that she was much more than a pretty face, and had always been.

Deneuve made another brief return to Hollywood in 2006, following in the footsteps of other stars vying to make guest appearances on the outrageous drama series "Nip/Tuck" (FX 2003-10). Her character was no less over-the-top than the series itself, with Deneuve portraying a grief stricken mistress who wants her deceased lover's ashes inserted into her breast implants; that is, until her former lover's angry wife storms the office and ends the romantically creepy gesture. A year later, in true Deneuve fashion, she chose another unique project; lending her voice to the edgy Academy Award-nominated French animated feature, "Persepolis" (2007). Based on the graphic/memoir novels by Marjane Satrapi, the film was praised for its anti-Disney heroine, a rebellious, teenaged Iranian girl who loves heavy metal. Keeping it all in the family, Deneuve's real-life daughter Chiara Mastroianni voiced the teenage girl in the critically acclaimed hit.



Cast (Feature Film)

The Midwife (2017)
God Loves Caviar (2012)
Astérix et Obélix: Au Service de sa Majesté (2012)
Lines of Wellington (2012)
The Big Picture (2012)
Bancs publics (2011)
Potiche (2011)
The Girl on the Train (2010)
I Want to See (2009)
Cyprien (2009)
Hidden Diary (2009)
A Christmas Tale (2008)
Mes Stars et moi (2008)
Celebration (2007)
Persepolis (2007)
Apres Lui (2007)
Celebration (2007)
Le Heros De La Famille (2006)
Le Concile De Pierre (2006)
Palais Royal! (2005)
Changing Times (2005)
Kings and Queen (2004)
Francois Truffaut, An Autobiography (2004)
A Talking Picture (2003)
Tanguy (2002)
8 Women (2002)
8 Women (2002)
Le Petit Poucet (2001)
Absolument fabuleux (2001)
The Book That Wrote Itself (2001)
I'm Going Home (2001)
The Musketeer (2001)
Clouds (2001)
Narrator (French Language Version)
Dancer in the Dark (2000)
Time Regained (1999)
Odette De Forcheville
Belle Maman (1999)
Pola X (1999)
Night Wind (1999)
East-West (1999)
Place Vendôme (1998)
Genealogies d'un crime (1997)
Ma saison préférée (1996)
Les Voleurs (1996)
The Convent (1995)
The Universe of Jacques Demy (1995)
One Hundred and One Nights (1995)
The Chess Game (1994)
The Young Girls Turn 25 (1993)
Contre l'oubli (1992)
Indochine (1992)
La Reine Blanche (1991)
Choice Of Arms (1990)
Helmut Newton: Frames From the Edge (1989)
Frequence meurtre (1989)
Jeanne Quester
A Strange Place to Meet (1989)
Agent Trouble (1988)
Amanda Weber
Pourvu que ce soit une fille (1987)
Aunt Claudia
Le Lieu du Crime (1986)
Words and Music (1986)
Fort Saganne (1984)
The African (1983)
Le Bon Plaisir (1983)
The Hunger (1983)
Le Choc (1982)
Hotel des Ameriques (1982)
Reporters (1981)
I Love You (1980)
Abattre (1980)
The Last Metro (1980)
Marion Steiner
Courage Fuyons (1979)
A nous deux (1979)
Ils sont grands ces petits (1979)
L' Argent des autres (1978)
Cecile Rainier
Ecoute Voir... (1978)
Claude Alphand
March Or Die (1977)
If You Had To Do It All Over Again (1976)
Anima Persa (1976)
Elisa Stolz
Le Sauvage (1975)
Hustle (1975)
Fatti di Gente Perbene (1975)
The Woman With Red Boots (1974)
L' Agression (1974)
Zig-Zig (1974)
Don't Touch the White Woman! (1973)
A Slightly Pregnant Man (1973)
Un flic (1972)
Ca n'arrive qu'aux autres (1971)
La Cagna (1971)
Mississippi Mermaid (1970)
Julie Roussel/Marion
Tristana (1970)
Donkey Skin (1970)
Les créatures (1969)
Mayerling (1969)
Baroness Maria Vetsera
La chamade (1969)
The April Fools (1969)
Catherine Gunther
Belle de jour (1968)
Séverine Sérizy
The Young Girls of Rochefort (1968)
Delphine Garnier
Benjamin (1968)
Anne de Clécy
The Beautiful Swindlers (1967)
La vie de château (1967)
Male Companion (1966)
Vice and Virtue (1965)
Repulsion (1965)
Carol Ledoux
Male Hunt (1965)
Le Chant du Monde (1965)
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964)
Geneviève Emery
Wild Roots of Love (1962)
Tales of Paris (1962)

Producer (Feature Film)

A Strange Place to Meet (1989)

Music (Feature Film)

Dancer in the Dark (2000)
Song Performer
Courage Fuyons (1979)
Song Performer

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

Celebration (2007)
Francois Truffaut, An Autobiography (2004)
Absolument fabuleux (2001)
The Universe of Jacques Demy (1995)
Contre l'oubli (1992)
Helmut Newton: Frames From the Edge (1989)

Cast (Special)

The 10th Annual IFP Gotham Awards (2000)
Roman Polanski: Reflections of Darkness (2000)
The 57th Annual Golden Globe Awards (2000)
The 65th Annual Academy Awards Presentation (1993)
50th Annual Golden Globe Awards (1993)

Cast (Short)

Vienna The Years Remembered (1968)

Life Events


First film appearance (a bit part) in "Les Collegiennes" (billed as Catherine Dorleac)


Film acting debut in "Les Petits Chats" (billed as Catherine Dorleac)


Starred in Jacques Demy's award-winning musical "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg"


English language debut in Roman Polanski's "Repulsion"


Cast as a bored housewife who becomes a call girl in Luis Bunuel's "Belle de Jour"


Reteamed with Demy for the musical "Les Demoiselles of Rochefort/The Young Girls of Rochefort"; starred with her sister Francoise Dorleac, playing twin sisters


First Hollywood film, "The April Fools"


Played dual role in Francois Truffaut's "The Mississippi Mermaid"


Third film with Demy, "Peau d'anne/Donkey Skin"


First of five films with Marcello Mastroianni, "It Only Happens to Others"


Co-starred with Mastroianni in the Jacques Demy-directed "A Slightly Pregnant Man"


Starred in "Le Sauvage"; directed by Jean-Paul Rappeneau


Returned to Hollywood to co-star opposite Burt Reynolds in "Hustle"


Reteamed with Truffaut for "The Last Metro"; first of six films with Gerard Depardieu


First of four films (to date) with Andre Techine, "Hotel des Ameriques"


Appeared opposite Susan Sarandon in the vampire-themed "The Hunger"


Profile chosen as the model for the symbol of the French Republic, "Marianne" (a statuette of which is displayed in every city and town hall in the country)


First film as producer (also actress), "Drole d'endroit pour une rencontre/A Strange Place to Meet"


Received Best Actress Oscar nomination for "Indochine"


Co-starred in Techine's "Ma saison preferee/My Favorite Season" (released in the USA in 1996)


Starred in Manoel de Oliveira's "The Convent"


Reteamed with Techine for "Les Voleurs/Thieves"


Earned praise for her performance as a jeweler's widow in "Place Vendome"


Appeared in award-winning drama "Dancer in the Dark" starring Bjork


Had featured role in comedy "8 Women"


Starred in Manoel de Oliveira's "Um Filme Falado/A Talking Picture"


Published her diary A l'ombre de moi-meme/In My Shadow; Deneuve writes about her experiences shooting the films "Indochine" and "Dancer in the Dark"


Voiced the mother in "Persepolis"; Marjane Satrapi's animated film based on the graphic novel of the same name


Movie Clip

Last Metro, The (1980) -- (Movie Clip) You Were My First Choice Actor Bernard (Gerard Depardieu) first eavesdropping then with manager Pottins (Jean Poiret) then theater owner Marion (Catherine Deneuve), seeking work in occupied Paris, in Francois Truffaut's The Last Metro, 1980.
Last Metro, The (1980) -- (Movie Clip) My Brother In Law Is A Jew Actor and resistance supporter Bernard (Gerard Depardieu) watches as his boss Marion (Catherine Deneuve) slips away, visiting her Jewish husband Lucas (Heinz Bennent), hiding out in Nazi-occupied Paris, in Francois Truffaut's The Last Metro, 1980.
Last Metro, The (1980) -- (Movie Clip) Paris, September 1942 Opening sequence narrated by the director, and first scene introducing Gerard Depardieu as actor "Bernard Granger," from Francois Truffaut's international hit The Last Metro, 1980, also starring Catherine Deneuve.
Tristana (1970) -- (Movie Clip) God Rot His Soul Arresting opening from director Luis Bunuel, deaf kids including Saturno (Jesus Fernandez) playing soccer, his mother (Lola Gaos) and Catherine Deneuve (title character), who's the new ward of her boss Don Lope (Fernando Rey), visiting, on location in Toledo, from Tristana, 1970.
Umbrellas Of Cherbourg, The (1964) -- (Movie Clip) Un Film De Jacques Demy Director Jacques Demy's improbable on location opening begins to suggest the visual style, and provides the first sample of Michel Legrand's international hit theme, in the one-of-a-kind musical that made Catherine Deneuve a star, The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg, 1964.
Umbrellas Of Cherbourg, The (1964) -- (Movie Clip) Too Ugly Or Too Stupid? On location at the Normandy title-town, teen Genevieve (Catherine Deneuve) with boyfriend Guy (Nino Castelnuovo), then at work with mother (Anne Vernon), music by Michel Legrand, lyrics by director Jacques Demy, in the acclaimed sung-through musical The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg, 1964.
Umbrellas Of Cherbourg, The (1964) -- (Movie Clip) You May Speak Freely A key event in the sung-through musical by director Jacques Demy, cash-strapped shop-owner Madame Emery (Anne Vernon), with daughter Genevieve (Catherine Deneuve) seeks help from a jeweler (Harald Wolff) and meets Cassard (Marc Michel), in The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg, 1964.
Hunger, The (1983) -- (Movie Clip) Open, Bela Lugosi's Dead Director Tony Scott’s opening, introducing billed stars Catherine Deneuve and David Bowie but not Susan Sarandon, the song not from Bowie but from Peter Murphy, an original by his band Bauhaus, which has featured in several recent vampire-related TV shows, from The Hunger, 1983.
Hunger, The (1983) -- (Movie Clip) He's Gone To Switzerland New York vampire Miriam (Catherine Deneuve) has just completed rites for her husband (David Bowie), who killed a local teenager then died from accelerated aging, when gerontology researcher Sarah (Susan Sarandon), who failed to recognize his condition, visits her at home, in The Hunger, 1983.
Hunger, The (1983) -- (Movie Clip) That's A Two Thousand Dollar Monkey More artful work from director Tony Scott, probably-vampire David Bowie arising, with partner Catherine Deneuve, then joining Susan Sarandon, who evidently is a researcher at a lab where the primates went wild during the couple’s lustful evening activities, early in The Hunger, 1983.
Hunger, The (1983) -- (Movie Clip) Age Is A Disease Manhattan cellist-vampire John (David Bowie) has evidently entered a rapid-aging stage, so he proceeds to visit gerontology researcher Sarah (Susan Sarandon), whose work he and his partner (Catherine Deneuve) have noted, to little effect, in director Tony Scott’s The Hunger, 1983.
Young Girls Of Rochefort (1967) -- (Movie Clip) Chanson Des Jumelles From opening scenes on location on the square in Rochefort, director Jacques Demy has swooped into a studio where twins (and real-life sisters) Catherine Deneuve and Francoise Dorleac have just finished a class, song by Demy and Michel Legrand, in The Young Girls Of Rochefort, 1967.



Renee Dorleac
Maurice Dorleac
Francoise Dorleac
Actor. Born in 1942; killed in 1967 in a car crash; appeared with Deneuve in several films, including "The Young Girls of Rochefort" (1967).
Christian Vadim
Actor. Born on June 18, 1963; married in 1996.
Chiara Mastroianni
Actor. Born on May 28, 1972, co-starred with her mother in the film "Ma Saison Preferee" (1993).


Roger Vadim
Director. Met in 1961.
David Bailey
Photographer, filmmaker. Married in 1965; separated in 1970; divorced in 1972; died February 11, 2000.
Francois Truffaut
Marcello Mastroianni
Actor. Together from 1971 to 1975.
Pierre Lescure
Businessman. Together c. 1984 to c. 1991.



She has her own line of beauty products, Deneuve perfumes

"When we speak of Deneuve, we don't speak of a myth, but of an ideal." --French actress Sandrine Bonnaire

"I like American movies. I would very much like to work with Woody Allen or Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Jonathan Demme. And I'm sure there are others ... " --Catherine Deneuve quoted in The Boston Globe, September 27, 1998.

"I started out working so young. I was very much of a dreamer, then I went into active life. In between, I'm not sure I had those hopes [about romance]. I was quite successful very young. I think my hopes were always on my personal and private life, on love." --Deneuve to New York Post, August 17, 1998.

"The man I would like to be." --Gerard Depardieu about Deneuve.

"I'm not as sophisticated as people think. I live as I am. That's how it is. Even if not at my best, I won't hide myself and stay in. I'm human and I have my days on and my days off." --Catherine Deneuve in New York Post, April 18, 1996.

"To be a part of a film is what I love more than anything else. If you don't love acting, it would be the most embarrassing thing to do. If I stopped loving acting I would quit and think of something else to do." --Deneuve to New York Newsday, June 29, 1995.