Deneuve, Catherine

Deneuve, Catherine, 1943–, French film actress, b. Paris as Catherine Fabienne Dorléac. The daughter of actors and sister of actress Françoise Dorléac (1942–67), the cool and beautiful blonde has epitomized French elegance, appearing in more than 100 films in a wide range of genres. Her breakthrough role came in Jacques Demy's wistfully romantic musical Les Parapluies de Cherbourg (1964, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg). Among her notable roles with outstanding directors have been as a mad killer in Roman Polanski's Repulsion, a housewife and part-time prostitute in Luis Buñuel's Belle de Jour (1967), a glamorous and mysterious mail-order bride in François Truffaut's La Sirène du Mississippi (1969, Mississippi Mermaid), the actress wife of a Jewish playwright in Nazi-occupied Paris in Truffaut's Le Dernier Métro (1980, The Last Metro; César), and a supporting role in Lars von Trier's Dancer in the Dark (2000). She won another César for the colonial-era Indochine (1992). Other films in which she has appeared include Un Flic (1971, Dirty Money), My Favorite Season (1993), Place Vendôme (1998), Time Regained (1999), 8 Femmes (2002, 8 Women), Kings and Queen (2004), Palais Royale (2005), and The Truth (2020). Most of her films have been French, some Italian, and a few American, e.g., The April Fools (1969), Hustle (1975), and The Hunger (1983). Her 21st-century roles have tended to be smaller or supporting. Deneuve has also been a model (and muse of Yves Saint Laurent), singer, and film producer.

See her The Private Diaries of Catherine Deneuve (2005, tr. 2007); study by L. Downing and S. Harris, ed. (2011).

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