Catherine Deneuve

Catherine Deneuve Biography.com

Actress, Film Actor/Film Actress, Film Actress, Television Actress(1943–)
Oscar-nominated French actress Catherine Deneuve has become a film legend for her timeless beauty and iconic roles.

Synopsis

Actress Catherine Deneuve was born on October 22, 1943, in Paris, France. In the 1960s, she became a star with her breakout performance in the romantic musical Les Parapluies de Cherbourg (1964; The Umbrellas of Cherbourg). She went on to establish herself as one of the leading ladies of international cinema in films including Repulsion (1965), Belle de Jour (1967) and The Hunger (1983). Deneuve has received two César Awards from the French Academy of Cinema for The Last Metro (1980, directed by François Truffaut) and Indochine (1992, directed by Régis Wargnier), for which she was also nominated for an Academy Award.

Film Debut

Catherine Deneuve was born Catherine Dorléac on October 22, 1943, in Paris, France. The daughter of two actors, she chose to enter the same profession. Adopting her mother's last name, Deneuve made her film debut at age 13, in Les Collégiennes (The Twilight Girls).

Life as a Star

Denueve's breakout performance came playing a young girl in love in the musical Les Parapluies de Cherbourg (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg) in 1964. In her next role, Deneuve showed her versatility as an actress, portraying a sexually repressed woman whose neuroses lead her to become a killer in the psychological thriller Repulsion (1965), directed by Roman Polanski.

Catherine Deneuve photo via Getty Images

Catherine Deneuve at the world premiere of Roman Polanski's psychological thriller 'Repulsion', in 1965. (Photo: Trevor Humphries/Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

In another star turn, Denueve starred as a housewife turned prostitute in 1967's Belle de Jour, directed by Luis Buñuel. With her success, came opportunities to act in a range of films including comedies, dramas and musicals, working with some of French cinema’s top directors. She appeared in François Truffaut’s La Sirène du Mississippi (1969; Mississippi Mermaid) and Le Dernier Métro (1980; The Last Metro); Jacques Demy’s Peau d'Âne (1970; Donkey Skin), Jean-Pierre Melville’s Un Flic (1971; Dirty Money), and Claude Berri’s Je Vous Aime (1980; I Love You All). Although Deneuve mainly focused on French productions and co-productions, including the French-Italian-Spanish film Tristana (1970), she has appeared in several American films, including The April Fools (1969) with Jack Lemmon, Hustle (1975) with Burt Reynolds and the cult vampire film The Hunger (1983) with David Bowie and Susan Sarandon.

Deneuve's timeless beauty led to opportunities outside of film. She became the face of Chanel perfume during the 1970s. For part of the 1980s, she was the model for Marianne—the symbolic embodiment of the French Republic—and her image was used on coins and stamps. 

Denueve is a prolific artist, who has always continued to act, making more than 100 movies. In her later career, she appeared in Indochine (1992), directed by Régis Wargnier and Lars von Trier's Dancer in the Dark (2000), which starred Björk. Additional films include in 8 Femmes (2002; 8 Women), Potiche (2010) and Les Bien-Aimés (2011; Beloved). The screen legend also made a guest appearance on the TV series Nip/Tuck in 2006.

Catherine Deneuve photo via Getty Images

Catherine Deneuve in 2011. (Photo: Miguel Villagran/Getty Images)

Awards and Honors

In 1981, Deneuve received a César Award (France's equivalent to an Academy Award) for her work in Le Dernier Métro (The Last Metro). She was awarded her second César for her performance in Indochine (1992); she also received an Academy Award nomination for that film. Deneuve was selected by the European Film Academy to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award in December 2013.

Personal Life

Along with her parents, Deneuve's sister, Françoise Dorléac, was also an actress. The two played sisters onscreen in the movie Les Demoiselles de Rochefort (The Young Girls of Rochefort). Dorléac died in a car accident in 1967, the same year the film was released.

Deneuve had a relationship with French director Roger Vadim, who directed some of her early films, and is the father of her son Christian Vadim (born in 1963). She was married to English photographer David Bailey from 1965 to 1972. She was also involved with Italian actor Marcello Mastroianni, the father of her daughter Chiara Mastroianni (born in 1972). Deneuve also had relationships with Irish cinematographer Hugh Johnson, whom she met on the set of The Hunger, as well as the French television executive Pierre Lescure.

Both of Deneuve's children are actors with whom she has appeared in films, including Ma Saison Préférée (1993; My Favorite Season) with daughter Chiara and Le Temps Retrouvé (1999; Time Regained) with son Christian.

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