Danielle Darrieux, who made more than 100 films in a career that spanned eight decades, has died. The French actress and singer’s passing was reported by AFP citing her companion Jacques Jenvrin who said she died at her home in Bois-le-Roi, France on Tuesday. She turned 100 years old on May 1.
Over the course of her long career, Darrieux worked with such directors as Max Ophuls, Jean Cocteau, Claude Chabrol, Henri Ducoin, Joseph L Mankiewicz, Jacques Demy, André Téchiné, Anne Fontaine and François Ozon.
Born in 1917 in Bordeaux, Darrieux’s first film roles came at the age of 14 in Wilhelm Thiele’s Le Bal and André Berthomieu’s Coquecigrole. Her beginnings were in comedy before taking more dramatic roles including in Anatole Litvak’s 1936 Mayerling opposite Charles Boyer. She won a National Board of Review Best Actress prize for the romance which had premiered at the Venice Film Festival when the top award there was still known as the Mussolini Cup.
Darrieux continued to work during the German Occupation of France and traveled to Berlin in 1942, accepting the invitation, she had said, to see her then-husband Porfirio Rubirosa who had been suspected of espionage and arrested by the Germans. She lived out the war years under house arrest in Mégève.
Her career picked up again with such notable films as Ophüls’ La Ronde in 1950 and Madame De… in 1954; La Vérité Sur Bébé Donge with Jean Gabin in 1953 (and directed by her former husband Ducoin with whom she made several movies); Le Rouge Et Le Noir in 1954; and 1959’s Marie-Octobre from Julien Duvivier.
Darrieux also found work in Hollywood and on Broadway. Her studio films include Universal’s The Rage Of Paris with Douglas Fairbanks Jr in 1938; 1951’s Rich Young And Pretty for MGM; Mankiewicz’ 5 Fingers with James Mason in 1952; and United Artists’ Alexander The Great with Richard Burton in 1956.
Later, in 1967, she starred and sang in Demy’s classic Les Demoiselles De Rochefort, giving new life to her career.
One of her more recent roles came in 2002’s Huit Femmes (Eight Women), an ensemble musical hit that also starred Catherine Deneuve and Isabelle Huppert, among others. She was nominated for a Supporting Actress César for the film and shared acting honors with the cast in Berlin and at the European Film Awards. The movie’s director, François Ozon, tweeted today:
This has been a tough year on French icons. Darrieux joins such actors as actors as Jean Rochefort, Mireille Darc, Jeanne Moreau and Emmanuelle Riva who have all passed away in recent months.
French television stations today are busy rearranging their schedules to include some of Darrieux’s work this week. Here’s French film export body Unifrance on today’s news: