Jeanne Moreau, the great French actress who starred in countless French New Wave classics, has died at age 89. Moreau was married twice and had one son, painter Jérôme Richard.
Moreau’s death was announced on Twitter by French President Emmanuel Macron. Her agent told the Guardian that she died at her home in Paris.
Moreau worked into her 80s, and is best known for her work during the 1960s. Although she made her first appearance on film in 1949, it wasn’t until Lois Malle’s 1958 film The Lovers that she found stardom. She went on to star in Francois Truffaut’s iconic Jules et Jim, Michelangelo Antonioni’s La Notte, Orson Welles’ The Trial and Chimes at Midnight, John Frankenheimer’s The Train and the Western Monte Walsh all during the 1960s.
Amazingly, she was never honored with an Academy Award nomination, but won two BAFTA Awards and won the 1960 Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival for Moderato cantabile. She also won a Cesar Award for 1991’s La vieille qui marchait dans la mer and won two honorary Cesar Awards.
Moreau’s last film was 2012’s Une estonienne à Paris. She also directed two films, 1976’s Lumiere and 1979’s L’Adolescente. She also directed a 1983 TV documentary on actress Lillian Gish.
Here’s a look at Moreau’s husbands and her family.
1. Moreau’s First Husband was ‘Fahrenheit 451’ Screenwriter Jean-Louis Richard
Moreau’s first husband was the French actor and screenwriter Jean-Louis Richard. He died in June 2012 at age 85. The two were married from 1949 to 1951.
Richard’s best-known work in his filmography is co-writing the screenplay to Truffaut’s 1966 adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.
Richard also appeared in small roles in Jules et Jim and Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless (A bout de souffle).
2. Richard & Moreau Had 1 Son, Jérôme
In a 1994 Times profile, Moreau revealed that she was still close to Richard and her son. At the time, Jérôme was living in Los Angeles and working as a painter.
Gala.fr reports that Jérôme is now 64 years old and he didn’t always have the greatest relationship with his mother. In fact, she said in interviews that she was not meant to be a mother.
“I’m not made for children,” Moreau once told the Express. “But I love those of others. I am more grandmother than mother.”
3. Moreau’s Second Husband was ‘Exorcist’ Filmmaker William Friedkin
Moreau’s second marriage was to American filmmaker William Friedkin, who won an Oscar for directing The French Connection and also made The Exorcist. The marriage lasted from 1977 to 1979 and was Friedkin’s first marriage. Friedkin’s other ex-wives are Lesley-Anne Down and Kelly Lange. He’s been married to his fourth wife, Sherry Lansing, since 1991.
When his memoir The Friedkin Connection came out in 2013, Friedkin explained why he didn’t write about his ex-wives. He also told the Telegraph that he was still in touch with Moreau.
“Had I written about my three other marriages, all of which failed, it would have been only from my perspective. I wasn’t about to go to these women and get their perspective,” he told the Telegraph. “I’m still in touch with Jeanne. The point is, I never see them. It’s because I have nothing in common with them, frankly. And probably didn’t at the time. I could not provide a sensible reason why I married these women.”
During her marriage to Friedkin, Moreau lived in New York and Los Angeles. In a 1994 New York Times interview, she was asked if she liked either of those cities.
“It’s not a question of liking or disliking New York or Los Angeles,” she told the Times. “It’s the question of the marriage.”
Between her marriages to Richard and Friedkin, she was in a relationship with Teodoro Rubanis briefly in 1966, Chante France notes.
4. Director Tony Richardson Left Vanessa Redgrave for Moreau
During the 1960s, Moreau was known for having affairs with directors and others in the entertainment world. Her most famous affair was with British director Tony Richardson, an Oscar-winner for Tom Jones. In 1967, Richardson left his wife, actress Vanessa Redgrave, for Moreau, but they never tied the knot. Richardson directed Moreau in Mademoiselle in 1966.
Biographer Tim Adler wrote in the 2011 book The House of Redgrave that Redgrave wasn’t happy that Richardson made films with Moreau. Eventually, he admitted that he fell in love with Moreau.
“I was absolutely infatuated,” Richardson said. “Jeanne was very exciting sexually, very interesting and unlike other people.”
Redgrave and Richardson divorced in 1967 and the two had two children, the late Natasha Richardson and Joely Richardson. The director Richardson died in 1991 from complications of AIDS.
5. Moreau Reportedly Had an Affair With Miles Davis
The legendary jazz trumpeter Miles Davis also reportedly had an affair with Moreau. The two worked together on Malle’s Ascenseur Pour L’ Echafaud, known as Elevator to the Gallows in English. The thriller is famous for its Grammy-nominated jazz score, composed by Davis.
Elevator to the Gallows is considered a major film milestone for its use of music matched to the emotion and images. In the U.S., Davis’ score made up side one of his album Jazz Track, which earned a Grammy nomination.
Moreau also had affairs with Malle and Truffaut.
“I had a very profound love relationship with Louis Malle, but there is always a fascination between directors and actresses,” she told the New York Times in 2001.
In that same interview, she also revealed that she had an interesting take on love.
“No, I don’t fall in love,” she told the Times. “I love differently. The word ‘fall’ is meaningless. Perhaps a ‘coup,’ to be hit by love, yes. But I’m more generous now. Passion is blind and being blind you only see your own reflection in the eyes of others. Passion creates obstacles and pain that block what love is about. Love opens you up. It’s more generous, more fun. It’s less dark.”
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