Catherine Dorléac

Born: Paris, France, 22 October 1943.

The daughter of veteran stage and screen actor Maurice Dorléac and the younger sister of the late Françoise Dorléac, she made her screen debut while still a schoolgirl of 13, assuming the maiden name of her mother, who was also an actress. Despite the patronage of star-maker Roger Vadim, she did not achieve any prominence until her appearance seven years later in Demy’s The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1963). An exquisite, fragile beauty, aloof and detached in manner, she developed into France’s leading female screen personality and one of the top stars on the international film scene in the late 60s. She was particularly effective as the frigid, mentally disoriented character in Polanski’s macabre Repulsion (1965), the innocent-conniving 18th-century virgin in Deville’s Benjamin (1968), and the erotic, enigmatic protagonist of Buñuel’s Belle de Jour (1967) and Tristana (1970). In 1971 she formed her own production company, Les Films de la Citrouille. She was named best foreign actress at the David Donatello Awards for her performance in The Last Metro (1980) and was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance in Indochine (1992). In the 80s, as beautiful and elegant as ever, she advertised Chanel perfumes so successfully on American TV that in 1986 she launched a fragrance bearing her own name.

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