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Jeanne Moreau ( ; born 23 January 1928) is a French actress, screenwriter and director.

She made her theatrical debut in 1947, and established herself as one of the leading actresses of the Comédie-Françaisemarker. She began playing small roles in films in 1949 and eventually achieved prominence as the star of Elevator to the Gallows (1958), directed by Louis Malle and Jules et Jim (1962), directed by François Truffaut. Most prolific during the 1960s, Moreau continues to appear in films to the present day.

Moreau is the recipient of a César Award for Best Actress, a BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actress and a Cannes Film Festival Best Actress Award for individual performances, and several lifetime awards.

Early life

Moreau was born in Paris, the daughter of Katherine (née Buckley), a dancer who performed at the Folies Bergèremarker, and Anatole-Désiré Moreau, a restaurateur. Moreau's father was French and her mother was English, a native of Lancashire, Englandmarker and of part Irish descent. Moreau's father was Catholic and her mother, originally a Protestant , converted to Catholicism upon marriage. Moreau studied at the Conservatoire de Parismarker.


In 1947, she made her theatrical debut at the Avignon Festival. By her twenties, Moreau was already one of leading stage actresses at the Comédie-Françaisemarker. After 1949, she began appearing in films with small parts. From the late 1950s, after appearing in several successes, she began to work with the emerging generation of French film-makers. Elevator to the Gallows (1958) with first-time director Louis Malle was followed by Malle's The Lovers (Les Amants, 1959). The latter film, controversial in its day, led the media to tag her 'The New Bardot'.

Largely thanks to those films, she went on to work with many of the best known New Wave and avant-garde directors. Fran√ßois Truffaut's New Wave film Jules et Jim (1962), her biggest success internationally, is centred on her magnetic starring role. She has also worked with a number of other notable directors such as Michelangelo Antonioni (La notte and Beyond the Clouds), Orson Welles (Chimes at Midnight), Luis Bu√Īuel (Diary of a Chambermaid), Elia Kazan (The Last Tycoon), Rainer Werner Fassbinder (Querelle), Wim Wenders (Until the End of the World), and by Carl Foreman (Champion).

Moreau has enjoyed success as a vocalist. She has released several albums and once performed with Frank Sinatra at Carnegie Hallmarker. In addition to acting, Moreau has also worked behind the camera, as a writer, director and producer. Her blended accomplishments were the subject of a 1988 film profile, Calling The Shots, by Janis Cole and Holly Dale.

Personal life

Throughout her life, she has maintained friendships with prominent writers such as Jean Cocteau, Jean Genet, Henry Miller, and Marguerite Duras (an interview with Moreau is included in Duras's book Outside: Selected Writings).

She has been married three times, to Jean-Louis Richard (1949-1951), Teodoro Rubanis (1966-1967), and William Friedkin (1977-1979). Director Tony Richardson left his wife, Vanessa Redgrave, for her in 1967, but they never married. She has also dated directors Louis Malle and François Truffaut and fashion designer Pierre Cardin.

She is a close friend of Sharon Stone, who presented a 1998 American Academy of Motion Pictures life tribute to Moreau. Orson Welles called her "the greatest actress in the world", and to this day she remains one of France's most accomplished actresses.




Awards and nominations

César Awards

Year Group Award Film Result
1992 César Awards Best Actress The Old Lady Who Walked in the Sea Won
Year Group Award Film Result
1987 César Awards Best Actress Le Paltoquet Nominated
1988 César Awards Best Actress Le Miraculé Nominated

Molière Awards

Year Group Award Film Result
1988 Molière Awards Best Actress Le Récit de la servante Zerline Won


  1. Jeanne Moreau Biography (1928-)
  2. Famous French people of immigrant origin, Eupedia : France Guide
  3. Jeanne Moreau Biography - Yahoo! Movies
  4. Stated in interview at Inside the Actors Studio
  6. People | Jeanne Moreau

External links

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