Jeanne Moreau has died. The legendary screen actress who became synonymous with the French New Wave, and appeared in films likes Seven Days… Seven Nights (1960) and Jules & Jim (1962), died on Monday morning. According to The Guardian, Moreau’s agent stated that she was in her home in Paris. She was 89.
Moreau, who was one of the last living stars of the French New Wave, was married numerous times during her life, including to filmmaker William Friedkin and actor Jean-Louis Richard, as well as reportedly having affairs with jazz musician Miles Davis and fashion designer Pierre Cardin. Despite this, Moreau is survived by only one child, her son Jerome Richard.
Here’s what you need to know about Jerome:
1. He Was Born to Moreau & Jean-Louis Richard
French actor Jean-Louis Richard was the first of Moreau’s three husbands. The couple were married from 1949 to 1951, during which time they gave birth to a son, Jerome Richard. After their marriage ended in divorce, however, Moreau and Richard would continue to run in the same creative circles, appearing in various French New Wave films.
While listed as an actor primarily on his IMDb page, Richard was also a screenwriter, with his most notable contribution coming when he co-wrote the screenplay for Francois Truffaut’s 1966 adaptation of the Ray Bradbury story Fahrenheit 451.
Richard died in June 2012 at the age of 85.
2. Moreau Often Said in Interviews That She Was ‘Not a Mother’
Growing up, Moreau’s relationship with Richard was a tumultuous one. By her own accord, she was not someone who was going to let motherhood take precedence over her career, and often times, this let to friction and some animosity from both her and her son.
“When you’re an actress and you just do that, you spend your time going away,” Moreau said in an interview, “We do not mind anything, we’re not going to talk about love in the evening when I get back. I know that I shock many women, but I am not a mother.”
In a piece entitled “My Mother, This Sex Symbol: Jeanne Moreau”, Gala magazine further details what Richard endured during his youth: “Jeanne Moreau does not have the maternal fiber. She never had it. She never bothered to have it. She dropped to the Express: ” I’m not made for children. But I love those of others. I am more grandmother than mother.”
Additionally, Moreau recounted to them the casualness and quickness with which she gave birth to Richard, saying “I gave birth in two hours. As soon as I got back to my room, I phoned my director. I woke him up: “This is my child is born, I am in full form. I think I can start working again in eight to ten days. ”
3. He Acted Alongside His Parents in Numerous Films
Richard followed in both his parents footsteps at an early age, appearing in several French New Wave films. He made his debut in the 1969 film Le corps de Diane, which, appropriately enough, starred his mother and was directed by his father. From there, Richard went on to appear in Le pistonné (1970), Out 1 (1971), La Grand Bouffe (1973) and Celine and Julie Go Boating (1974), several of which were directed by the legendary Jacques Rivette.
According to his IMDb page, Richard also worked as a second unit director or assistant director on numerous films, including Zig-Zag, It’s Tough for Everybody (both 1975) and the aforementioned Le corps de Diane.
Gala magazine reports that Richard and actor Jean-Paul Belmondo was involved in a car accident in the 1960s. Belmondo fell victim to a broken arm as a result, but Richard’s injuries were far more serious, and he spent some time in a coma. “Sixteen nights and seventeen days in a coma,” Moreau recounted, “With his father, we lived in the clinic. When I was showering, I was crying. The water had to flow and my tears would flow.”
4. He is a Professional Painter Who Lives in Los Angeles
As Richard got older, he distanced himself from his mother’s career and decided to retire from acting so that he can pursue different interests. In an interview with Moreau in 1994, The New York Times revealed that Richard decided to move to Los Angeles and become a professional painter.
Despite their differences, Moreau was reportedly very supportive of her son’s work.
In an interview with Marie-Claire, she spoke on her son’s artistic style: ” I see the painting of a man and an artist (…), a magnificent independence. Thanks to the strength of its creation, the past no longer has the same importance. The artist who fed on them to create these paintings became a stranger, it is the very proof that it is a creation. The work of Jérôme Richard is his!”
5. He Made Peace with Moreau Before Her Death
While Richard, 69, has rarely given interviews or spoken about his mother in public, Moreau was never shy about discussing their relationship. “The relationship between my son and me has always been extremely violent”, she told Gala. “He has not supported it very well,” she said in reference to her numerous affairs and marriages, “but we never talked about it. He expressed himself by his violence. He tormented me. I was unhappy, worried, frustrated. It was an eventful love, a love that brought disorder into my life. Not the kind of house.
Fortunately for both of them, Gala reports that the two found made peace with each other before Moreau’s death. “He was unhappy, I think he’s reconciled with us, his father and I, and especially with himself, for only a few years now” said Moreau.
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