Renée Dorléac, the French actress and mother of actresses Catherine Deneuve, Francoise Dorléac and Sylvie Dorléac, has died aged 109 in Paris, her family has confirmed to Le Figaro.
Known professionally as Renée-Jeanne Simonot, Dorléac was married to actor Maurice Dorléac and was grandmother to actors Christian Vadim and Chiara Mastroianni.
Born in northern France in 1911, she debuted at the Odéon Theatre in Paris at the age of seven. Primarily a stage actress, she remained there for 28 years, holding the post of “leading lady.”
Simonot was one of the first French actresses to begin the dubbing of American films in France from the beginning of the talkies in 1929 through the 1930s. She was the voice of Olivia de Havilland (in most of her films), Sylvia Sidney, Judy Garland, Donna Reed and Esther Williams, among others.
While dubbing for MGM, she met Maurice Dorléac and they married in 1940.
In an interview conducted in Le Point a few months before her 102nd birthday in 2013, she said: “My old age is not sad. I am lucky to be very surrounded. There is not a day where I don’t get a phone call or a visit from my children and grandchildren.”
Simonot had been a widow since 1979 and had not acted since the Second World War. She had one child from a previous marriage.
Her daughter Catherine, who was in Cannes this week for new movie Peaceful (De Son Vivant), chose to use Dorléac’s maiden name, Deneuve, as her stage and screen name.