Jeanne Moreau, legendary French actress, dies at 89


Jeanne Moreau, whose brooding beauty entranced international film audiences in such films as The Lovers, Jules et Jim and The Bride Wore Black, has died at the age of 89.

The French president's office announced her death without providing a cause.

Dubbed "Le Moreau" for her slithering sensuality, she was a femme fatale who was also one of the top stage actresses of her time. Off-screen, Moreau oozed romance and mystery: Moreau was likened to the free-spirited woman with two lovers whom she played in Francois Truffaut's "Jules et Jim. "

She burst to international stardom in Louis Malle's "The Lovers" ("Les Amants) in 1958. The story of a woman who deserts her husband for a younger man, the story was controversial for the times and banned in some U.S. cities. Flaming her notorious image, Moreau next played in Roger Vadim's "Les Liaisons Dangereuses," which was also censored, but in France. It was briefly banned from export not for its sexuality but for its unflattering depiction of French diplomats.

See photos of Jeanne Moreau:

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Jeanne Moreau throughout her life
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Jeanne Moreau throughout her life
(Original Caption) Jeanne Moreau in 'Dangerous Liaisons.' (Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)
JEANNE MOREAU'S FILM CAREER (Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)
(Original Caption) Jeanne Moreau in 'Queen Margot' directed by Jean Dreville. (Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)
French actress Jeanne Moreau and American actor Lee Marvin on the set of Monte Walsh directed by William A. Fraker. (Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)
Jeanne Moreau and Brigitte Bardot on the set of 'Viva Maria'. (Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)
French actress Jeanne Moreau on the set of Le Journal d'une Femme de Chambre, based on the novel by Octave Mirbeau, and directed by Luis Bu�el. (Photo by Speva Films/Cine Alliances/Filmsonor/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)
French actress Jeanne Moreau, ca. 1950. (Photo by � Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
FRANCE - 1950: Jeanne Moreau in ' The Cellars of Vatican ' of Andre Gide. Paris, Comedie-Francaise, in December, 1950. LIP-043084-223. (Photo by Lipnitzki/Roger Viollet/Getty Images)
(GERMANY OUT) Jeanne Moreau *23.01.1928- Schauspielerin, Frankreichmit Lino Ventura in dem Film 'Wenn es Nacht wird in Paris'Regie: Jacques BeckerFrankreich/Italien 1954 (Photo by ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
(GERMANY OUT) Gabin, Jean - Actor, Singer, France - *17.05.1904-15.11.1976+ Scene from the movie 'Gas-oil'' with Jeanne Moreau Directed by: Gilles Grangier France 1955 Produced by: Intermondia Films Vintage property of ullstein bild (Photo by ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
Jeanne Moreau (1928-2017) in 'Dangerous Liaisons.' (Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)
(GERMANY OUT) Jeanne Moreau *23.01.1928- Schauspielerin, FrankreichAnkunft bei den Filmfestspielen in Cannes- 1960 (Photo by ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
ROME, ITALY - FEBRUARY 15: The French actress Jeanne Moreau and the director Francois Truffaut in Rome, going to the screening premiere of the film 'Jules and Jim' on February 15, 1962 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 11: Actors Jean-Claude Brialy And Jeanne Moreau With Director Anatole Litvak At the Cannes Film Festival, in Cannes, France, on May 11, 1962. (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
Jean-Paul Belmondo et Jeanne Moreau dans le film de Marcel Ophuls 'Echappement Libre' en 1963 en France . (Photo by REPORTERS ASSOCIES/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
Jeanne Moreau during the shooting of the program ''All the song'' (Photo by Philippe Bataillon/INA via Getty Images)
Jeanne Moreau cuts out the face from her portrait in a scene from the film 'The Bride Wore Black', 1968. (Photo by Lopert Pictures/Getty Images)
Actor Lee Marvin and actress Jeanne Moreau pose for a portrait for the movie ' Monte Walsh' in 1970. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Serge Reggiani et Jeanne Moreau lors du tournage du film 'Comptes �rebours' r�lis�par Roger Pigaut en 1970 �Paris, France . (Photo by REPORTERS ASSOCIES/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
Scottish actor Sean Connery, President of 12th French Academy Cesar Awards, dances 07 March 1987 in Paris witch French actress Jeanne Moreau, during the annual French film Industry award ceremony. AFP PHOTO MICHEL GANGNE / AFP PHOTO / MICHEL GANGNE (Photo credit should read MICHEL GANGNE/AFP/Getty Images)
French actress Jeanne Moreau surrounded by writer Fran�ise Sagan and actor Alain Delon, after the premiere of the play Le R�it de la servante Zerline, written by Hermann Broch. (Photo by Elisabeth Andanson/Sygma via Getty Images)
French Actress Jeanne Moreau (Photo by Micheline Pelletier/Sygma via Getty Images)
French actress Jeanne Moreau poses on May 17, 1991 during the 44th International Cannes Film Festival. AFP PHOTO JACQUES DEMARTHON / AFP PHOTO / JACQUES DEMARTHON (Photo credit should read JACQUES DEMARTHON/AFP/Getty Images)
French actors Manuel Blanc, Jeanne Moreau and Geraldine Pailhas attend the 17th Cesar Awards ceremony. Maunel Blanc receives the Most Promising Actor Award for the movie J'embrasse pas, written and directed by Andre Techine, and Geraldine Pailhas receives the Most Promising Actress Award for the movie La Neige et le feu, written and directed by Claude Pinoteau. (Photo by Eric Robert/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images)
FRANCE - JANUARY 10: Jeanne Moreau in Paris, France on January 10, 2001. (Photo by Alain BENAINOUS/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
ITALY - SEPTEMBER 08: Jeanne Moreau and Aymeric Demarigny in Venice, Italy on September 08th, 2001. (Photo by Eric VANDEVILLE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
(Original Caption) Arrival of Jeanne Moreau at the French Embassy in New York. (Photo by Steve Azzara/Corbis via Getty Images)
396973 05: (ITALY OUT) French actress Jeanne Moreau attends the French Institute Alliance Francaise's 10th Annual Trophee des Arts Gala November 6, 2001 in New York City. (Photo by Arnaldo Magnani/Getty Images)
FRANCE - MAY 25: Closing ceremony of the 56th International Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France on May 25, 2003 - Jeanne Moreau (dressed by Chanel) and Wim Wenders. (Photo by Pool BENAINOUS/CATARINA/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
Jeanne Moreau at Chanel fashion show. (Photo by Stephane Cardinale/Corbis via Getty Images)
FRANCE - NOVEMBER 24: Arte Tv Channel Press Conference On November 24, 2003 In Paris, France. Arte Chairman Jerome Clement And French Actress Jeanne Moreau (Photo by Serge BENHAMOU/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 16: Actress Jeanne Moreau attends a photocall promoting the film 'Le Temps Qui Reste' at the Palais during the 58th International Cannes Film Festival May 16, 2005 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
FRANCE - MAY 16: 58th Cannes Film Festival: Stairs of 'Le temps qui reste' in Cannes, France On May 16, 2005-Jeanne Moreau, Francois Ozon (director), Francois Ozon (director). (Photo by Pool BENAINOUS/CATARINA/LEGRAND/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
French actress Jeanne Moreau attends a gala event in her honor at the Flora Danica restaurant in Paris. (Photo by Stephane Cardinale/Corbis via Getty Images)
SAN SEBASTIAN, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 21: President of Jury actress Jeanne Moreau attends the opening Ceremony of 54th San Sebastian Film Festival at the Kursaal Palace on September 21, 2006 in San Sebastian, Spain. (Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images)
French actress Jeanne Moreau and President of the jury poses at the Maria Cristina Hotel, 27 September 2006 during the International Film Festival of San Sebastian. / AFP PHOTO / RAFA RIVAS (Photo credit should read RAFA RIVAS/AFP/Getty Images)
FRANCE - NOVEMBER 20: Laurent Perrier Price At The Pavillon Of Armenonville In Paris, France On November 20, 2006 - Jeanne Moreau. (Photo by Serge BENHAMOU/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
FRANCE - JANUARY 09: Jeanne Moreau Is Promoted To Be The Commander In The National Merit Order By The Minister Of Culture Renaud Donnedieu De Vabres In Paris, France On January 09, 2007 - Jean Daniel and Jeanne Moreau. (Photo by Serge BENHAMOU/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
Nantes, FRANCE: French socialist candidate for the 2007 upcoming presidential election Segolene Royal (2ndL) chats with mayor of Nantes Jean-Marc Ayrault (L), actress Jeanne Moreau and writter Erik Orsena, during a meeting focused on culture, 26 March 2007 in Nantes, western France. AFP PHOTO FRANK PERRY (Photo credit should read FRANK PERRY/AFP/Getty Images)
FRANCE - APRIL 15: Jeanne Moreau At The 1St Italian Film Festival Held At The 'Espace Cardin' In Paris, France On April 15, 2007 - Jeanne Moreau (Photo by Serge BENHAMOU/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
PARIS - SEPTEMBER 10: French actress Jeanne Moreau poses as she attends the premiere for Monsieur Max on September 10, 2007 in Paris , France. (Photo by Gilbert Garrigue/WireImage)
French actress Jeanne Moreau poses during a photocall at the 61st Cannes International Film Festival on May 17, 2008 in Cannes, southern France. The May 14-25 festival winds up with the awards ceremony for the prestigious Palme d'Or, to be determined by a jury headed by Hollywood 'bad boy' Sean Penn. AFP PHOTO / Fred Dufour (Photo credit should read FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images)
Jeanne Moreau at the premiere of 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona' during the 61st Cannes Film Festival. (Photo by Stephane Cardinale/Corbis via Getty Images)
Actors Jeanne Moreau performs a scene of the play 'La Guerre des fils de lumi�e contre les fils des t��res' according to 'La Guerre des Juifs' of Flavius Josephe directed by Amos Gitail, on July 5, 2008 in Carriere de Boulbon near Avignon, as part of the 63nd international theatre festival. AFP PHOTO GERARD JULIEN / AFP PHOTO / GERARD JULIEN (Photo credit should read GERARD JULIEN/AFP/Getty Images)
Alain Delon, Jeanne Moreau at The Joint Private Function Of Wendy Artin And Marina Cicogna At La Galerie Du Passage - Pierre Passebon In Paris. (Photo by Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images)
French actress Jeanne Moreau performs in a rehearsal of the play 'La Guerre des Fils de Lumiere contre les fils des tenebres' (The War of the sons of Light against the sons of Darkness) an adaptation of 'The Jewish War' by the historian Flavius Josephe, on January 5, 2010 at the Theatre de l'Odeon in Paris. The play directed by Israeli Amos Gitai will be shown from January 6 to 10, 2010. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)
Jeanne Moreau attends Gebo et l'ombre Premiere at the Cinematheque Francaise, in Paris. (Photo by Stephane Cardinale/Corbis via Getty Images)
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She was one of the most sought-after actresses in the world and performed in an array of films with leading directors, including ""Jules et Jim" (Truffaut), "The Trial" (Welles), "Eva"(Losey), "Peau de Banane" (Ophuls), Renoir, "La Notte" (Antonioni), "La Baie des Anges" (Demy) "Moderator Cantabile" (Brook), "Diary of a Chambermaid" (Bunuel), "The Sailor From Gibraltar" (Richardson), "Querelle" (Fassbinder).

She won the Best Actress award at Cannes in 1960 for her starring role in Peter Brook's "Moderato Cantabile."

More recently, she played in "Map of the Human Heart" (1992) and "The Proprietor" (1997).

Her personal life proved to be as captivated as her on-screen performances. ""When I am in love, it influences my pleasure in acting," she told Playboy in 1965. "Most people don't have the energy for passion, so they give up and go to the movies."

In 1976, Moreau wrote and directed "Lumiere," which focused on four actresses. She also directed "L'Adolescente" in 1979, which won critical acclaim. In 1997, she directed a third film, "Solstice."

Jeanne Moreau was born in Paris, Jan. 23 1926, the daughter of an English chorus girl and a French bartender. She studied at the Conservatoire National d'Art Dramatique. In 1947, the began in "La Terrasse de Midi" at the Avignon Festival.

In 1948, she became a at age 20 the youngest ever member of the repertory theater La Comedie Francaise, where she first appeared in "A Month in the Country." She spent four years with the Comedie Francasie, and among other plays, she was in the original production of Andre Gide's "The Vatican Caves."

She left the Comedie Francaise in 1953 and joined the Theatre National Populaire, where she appeared in such plays as "Le Cid" and "The Prince from Hamburg."

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In 1953, she appeared in "The Shining Hour " at the Theatre Antoine and also played in Jean Cocteau's "The Internal Machine" and Bernard Shaw's "Pygmalion. In 1957, she played Maggy in Tennessee Williams' "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof," directed by Peter Brook.

She began her film career with a role in "Dernier Amour." After a number of nondescript roles, she won her first strong notice as a prostitute in Jacques Becker's "Touchez-Paul au Grisbi."

In 1957, Louis Malle sported her in French theatrical production of "Cat on a Hot Tin Root" and cast her in his first feature film, "Ascenseur Pour L'Echafaud ("Elevator to the Scaffold")which was released in the United States as "Frantic."

Moreau served as president of the Commission d'Avances of France's Centre National de la Cinematographie.

She served as president of the jury at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival.

She was married to William Friedkin from 1977-79 and previously to Jean-Louis Richard.

Read more: Hollywood Flashback: In 1976, Jeanne Moreau Shined Her Light on the Very First TIFF



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