Skip to main content

Actress Jeanne Moreau Dead At 89

Actress Jeanne Moreau Dead At 89 Promo Image

French actress Jeanne Moreau has died at age 89.

The acclaimed actress' death was confirmed by the mayor of the Paris district in which Moreau lived in, Variety reported. French President Emmanuel Macron called her “a legend of cinema and theater … an actress engaged in the whirlwind of life with an absolute freedom.”

Cannes Film Festival president Pierre Lescure took to Twitter to pay tribute to the late actress as well.

“She was strong and she didn’t like to see people pour their hearts out," Lescure wrote. "Sorry, Jeanne, but this is beyond us. We are crying.”

Moreau starred in films directed by Louis Malle, Francois Truffaut, Jacques Demy, Michelangelo Antonioni, Welles, Luis Bunuel and Joseph Losey. She tried her hand at directing in the 70s, and paid homage to screen legend Lillian Gish with a documentary.

The actress started off in a theater school before being recruited by the Comedie Francause. She then appeared in Ivan Turgenev’s “A Month in the Country," and went on to do 22 other roles with them.

Moreau then moved on to the Theatre National Populaire. She got parts in “Le Prince de Hambourg” and “Le Cid.” She also made appearances in “Dernier amour," "Meurtres,” the musical, “Pigalle-Saint-Germain-des-Pres,” “L’Homme de ma vie” and “Il est minuit docteur Schweitzer.”

The French actress took on dual stage roles for the 1953 play “L’Heure eblouissante” (“The Dazzling Hour”) after her co-star became ill. That role made her a theater star in Paris, and she went on to appear in “Pygmalion,” “La Machine infernale” and “La bonne soupe" before her big break in 1956 with the “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” directed by Peter Brook.

After that performance, director Louis Malle casted her in his first feature film "Ascenseur pour L’Echafaud” (Elevator to the Gallows)," which went on to become a film noir masterpiece after its re-release in the United States in 2005.

Moreau and Malle worked together again for “Les Amants" in 1958. That film turned Moreau into an international star and icon. She then appeared in “Les Liaisons dangereuses,” “Les Dialogue des Carmelites," and “Moderato Cantabile,” which earned her a best actress award at Cannes.

By this time, every major director was looking to cast Moreau.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences paid tribute to Moreau in October 1998, and she was interviewed by James Lipton on “Inside the Actors Studio" in 2002.

Moreau married twice. Her first husband was actor, director and screenwriter Jean-Louis Richard, and her second was American film director William Friedkin. She is survived by her son, Jerome Richard, who is also an actor.

Several social media users took to Twitter to pay tribute to the actress.

"Oh no, Jeanne Moreau has died," wrote one user. "She occupied such a particular place in cinema - resolute, intelligent, lively. An actual icon of film."

"Saddened to learn of the death, at age 89, of the Grande Dame of French stage and screen, Jeanne Moreau," tweeted another. "What a great career she had. RIP."

"Awful news. Goodnight to the coolest woman to ever grace the screen," added another user.

Sources: Variety, Caspar Salmon/Twitter, KimInBru.EU/Twitter, Reyt/Twitter / Photo Credit: Jacque Fresco/WikiMedia Commons, Maurizio Nasi/Flickr, CorentinP/Wikipedia

Popular Video