Stéphane Audran Dies: ‘Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie’, ‘Babette’s Feast’ Star Was 85


French actress and BAFTA winner Stéphane Audran, who starred in films by Claude Chabrol, Eric Rohmer, Bertrand Tavernier and Luis Bunuel, has died. Her son, the actor Thomas Chabrol, told AFP she passed away overnight following an illness. She was 85.

Audran, whose real name was Colette Dacheville, is known for her long collaboration with Claude Chabrol to whom she was married from 1964-1980. She also starred in Bunuel’s 1972 comedy The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie which went on to win the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. Audran took the BAFTA Best Actress prize for that film as well.

In 1987, she starred in Gabriel Axel’s Danish drama Babette’s Feast which also won the Foreign Language Oscar. The titular role garnered her a BAFTA nomination as Best Actress and a win from the London Critics Film Circle Awards.

Audran began her career in theater in the 1950s and went on to become a key figure in French cinema of the 1970s. She is credited among the cast of Orson Welles’ previously unfinished The Other Side Of The Wind which could turn up at the Cannes Film Festival this year (Netflix acquired global rights last year to the film-within-a-film that Welles began work on in 1970.)

Chabrol was also cast in that film, and Audran’s other work with him as director includes 1960’s Les Bonnes Femmes, 1968’s La Femme Infidèle and Les Biches — for the latter, she won the Berlin Film Festival Silver Bear Best Actress prize — 1970’s Le Boucher, 1973’s Les Noces Rouges and 1978’s Violette Nozière which brought her a Supporting Actress César Award at home in France.

Audran also worked in English-language features including Samuel Fuller’s 1980 war drama The Big Red One, and celebrated 1981 miniseries Brideshead Revisited as well as NBC’s Poor Little Rich Girl: The Barbara Hutton Story.

Thomas Chabrol today told AFP, “My mother was ill for some time. She was hospitalized 10 days ago and then returned home. She died peacefully this morning at about 2AM.”

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