Danielle Darrieux

Danielle Yvonne Marie Antoinette Darrieux (French pronunciation: [da.njɛl i.vɔn ma.ʁi ɑ̃.twa.nɛt daʁ.jø]; 1 May 1917 – 17 October 2017) was a French actress of stage, television and film, as well as a singer and dancer.

Danielle Darrieux
Darrieux in a publicity photo for 5 Fingers (1952)
Danielle Yvonne Marie Antoinette Darrieux

(1917-05-01)1 May 1917
Bordeaux, France
Died17 October 2017(2017-10-17) (aged 100)
Years active1931–2010
Henri Decoin
(m. 1935; div. 1941)

Porfirio Rubirosa
(m. 1942; div. 1947)

Georges Mitsikidès
(m. 1948; died 1991)

Beginning in 1931, she appeared in more than 110 films. She was one of France's great movie stars and her eight-decade career was among the longest in film history.

Life and career

Darrieux was born in Bordeaux, France, during World War I, the daughter of Marie-Louise (Witkowski) and Jean Darrieux, a medical doctor who was serving in the French Army.[1][2] Her mother was born in Algeria.[3] Her father died when she was seven years old.

Raised in Paris, she studied the cello at the Conservatoire de Musique.[4] At 14, she won a part in the musical film Le Bal (1931).[5] Her beauty combined with her singing and dancing ability led to numerous other offers; the film Mayerling (1936) brought her to prominence.[6]

In 1935, Darrieux married director/screenwriter Henri Decoin,[3] who encouraged her to try Hollywood. She signed a seven-year contract with Universal Studios to star in The Rage of Paris (1938)[5] opposite Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. Afterwards, she elected to return to Paris.

Under the German occupation of France during World War II, Darrieux continued to perform, a decision that was severely criticized by her compatriots. However, it is reported that her brother had been threatened with deportation by Alfred Greven, the German manager of Continental, the only film production company permitted in occupied France. She received a divorce and then fell in love with Porfirio Rubirosa, a Dominican Republic diplomat and notorious womanizer. They married in 1942. His anti-Nazi opinions resulted in his forced residence in Germany. In exchange for Rubirosa's freedom, Darrieux agreed to make a promotional trip in Berlin. The couple lived in Switzerland until the end of the war, and divorced in 1947. She married scriptwriter Georges Mitsikidès in 1948, and they lived together until his death in 1991.

Darrieux appeared in the MGM musical Rich, Young and Pretty (1951). Joseph L. Mankiewicz lured her back to Hollywood to star in 5 Fingers (1952) with James Mason. Upon returning to France, she appeared in Max Ophüls' The Earrings of Madame de... (1953) with Charles Boyer, and The Red and the Black (1954) with Gérard Philippe. She starred in Lady Chatterley's Lover (1955), whose theme of uninhibited sexuality led to its being proscribed by Catholic censors in the United States. She played a supporting role in her last American film, United Artists' epic Alexander the Great (1956) starring Richard Burton and Claire Bloom.

At the request of director Lewis Gilbert, Darrieux worked in England to shoot The Greengage Summer (1961) with Kenneth More. In 1963, she starred in the romantic comedy La Robe Mauve de Valentine at the Chatelet Theatre in Paris. The play was adapted from the novel by Françoise Sagan. In Jacques Demy's film musical The Young Girls of Rochefort (1966) her supporting role was the only occasion in which a principal actor in any of Demy's film-musicals to herself sing. (All other actors had a separate person dub their singing parts.) During the 1960s, she also was a concert singer.

In 1970, Darrieux replaced Katharine Hepburn in the Broadway musical Coco, based on the life of Coco Chanel,[7] but the play, essentially a showcase for Hepburn, soon folded without her. In 1971 and 1972 she also appeared in the short-lived productions of Ambassador. She worked again with Demy for his film Une chambre en ville (1982), an opera-like musical melodrama reminiscent of the director's earlier work The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Les Parapluies de Cherbourg, 1964). Once again, Darrieux provided her own vocals for her songs.


For her long service to the motion picture industry, in 1985 she was given an Honorary César Award. She continued to work, her career spanning eight decades, most recently providing the voice of the protagonist's grandmother in the animated feature, Persepolis (2007), which deals with the impact of the Islamic revolution on a girl's life as she grows to adulthood in Iran.


Danielle Darrieux died on 17 October 2017 at the age of 100, due to complications from a fall.[8][9]

Selected filmography

Year Title Role Director
1931 Le Bal Antoinette Wilhelm Thiele
1934 Volga en flammes Macha Victor Tourjansky
The Crisis is Over Nicole Robert Siodmak
Mauvaise Graine Jeannette Billy Wilder and Alexander Esway
My Heart Is Calling You Nicole Nadin Carmine Gallone and Serge Véber
Gold in the Street Gaby Curtis Bernhardt
1935 Dédé Denise René Guissart
Mad Girl Lucie Léo Joannon
The Green Domino Hélène and Marianne de Richmond Herbert Selpin and Henri Decoin
1936 Mademoiselle Mozart Denise Yvan Noé
Mayerling Maria Vetsera Anatole Litvak
Taras Bulba Marina Alexis Granowsky
Women's Club Claire Derouve Jacques Deval
Port Arthur Youki Nicolas Farkas
Counsel for Romance Jacqueline Serval Jean Boyer and Raoul Ploquin
1937 My Mother Is a Miss Jacqueline Letournel Henri Decoin
Abused Confidence Lydia Henri Decoin
1938 The Rage of Paris Nicole Henry Koster
Katia Katia Dolgoronsky Maurice Tourneur
Return at Dawn Anita Ammer Henri Decoin
1940 Beating Heart Arlette Henri Decoin
1941 Her First Affair Micheline Chevasse Henri Decoin
1942 Caprices Lise Léo Joannon
Twisted Mistress Lilian Rander André Cayatte
1947 Bethsabée Arabella Dalvert Léonide Moguy
1948 Ruy Blas Queen of Spain Pierre Billon
1949 Keep an Eye on Amelia Amélie Claude Autant-Lara
1950 La Ronde Emma Breitkopf Max Ophüls
Romanzo d'amore Archduchess Louise of Austria Duilio Coletti
1951 Rich, Young and Pretty Marie Devaronne Norman Taurog
1952 The Truth About Bebe Donge Elisabeth "Bébé" Donge Henri Decoin
House of Pleasure
(episode "La maison Tellier")
Rosa Max Ophüls
5 Fingers Countess Anna Staviska Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Adorable Creatures Christine Christian-Jaque
1953 The Earrings of Madame de… Countess Louise Max Ophüls
Le Bon Dieu sans confession Janine Fréjoul Claude Autant-Lara
1954 Escalier de service Béatrice Berthier Carlo Rim
Le Rouge et le Noir Madame de Rénal Claude Autant-Lara
One Step to Eternity Constance Andrieux dite Poussy Henri Decoin
1955 Napoléon Eléonore Denuelle de La Plaigne Sacha Guitry
L'Affaire des poisons Madame de Montespan Henri Decoin
Lady Chatterley's Lover Constance Chatterley Marc Allégret
1956 If Paris Were Told to Us Agnès Sorel Sacha Guitry
Alexander the Great Olympias Robert Rossen
1957 Lovers of Paris Caroline Hédouin Julien Duvivier
Typhon sur Nagasaki Françoise Fabre Yves Ciampi
1958 Le désordre et la nuit Thérèse Marken Gilles Grangier
Life Together Monique Lebeaut Clément Duhour
1959 Marie-Octobre Marie-Hélène Dumoulin (aka "Marie-Octobre") Julien Duvivier
Les Yeux de l'amour Jeanne Moncatel Denys de La Patellière
1960 Murder at 45 R.P.M. Eve Faugeres Étienne Périer
L'Homme à femmes Gabrielle / Françoise Jacques-Gérard Cornu
1961 The Greengage Summer Madame Zisi Lewis Gilbert
The Lions Are Loose Marie-Laure Henri Verneuil
1962 Le Crime ne paie pas
(episode "The Man on the Avenue")
Lucienne Marsais Gérard Oury
The Devil and the Ten Commandments
(5th episode)
Clarisse Ardan Julien Duvivier
1963 Bluebeard Berthe Héon Claude Chabrol
Be Careful Ladies Hedwige André Hunebelle
1967 The Young Girls of Rochefort Yvonne Garnier Jacques Demy
1968 24 Hours in the Life of a Woman Alice Dominique Delouche
1977 Miss
a. k. a. Ein Fall für Madame
(French-German TV miniseries,
aired in 1979)
Miss Roger Pigaut
1982 Une chambre en ville Margot Langlois Jacques Demy
1983 At the Top of the Stairs Françoise Canavaggia Paul Vecchiali
1986 Scene of the Crime grandmother André Téchiné
1988 A Few Days with Me Madame Pasquier (Martial's mother) Claude Sautet
2001 8 Women Mamy François Ozon
2003 Les Liaisons dangereuses
(TV miniseries)
Madame de Rosemonde Josée Dayan
2006 Oh La La! Odette Saint-Gilles Anne Fontaine
Persepolis (animation film) grandmother (voice) Vincent Paronnaud and Marjane Satrapi
2007 L'Heure Zéro Camille Tressilian Pascal Thomas
2010 C'est toi, c'est tout
(TV movie)
Camille Jacques Santamaria
2010 Pièce montée Madeleine Denys Granier-Deferre


Year Awards Category Film Result
1987 César Award Best Supporting Actress Scene of the Crime Nominated
2002 Berlin International Film Festival Silver Bear – Outstanding Artistic Achievement 8 Women Won
2002 César Award Best Supporting Actress 8 Women Nominated
2002 European Film Awards Best Actress (all the cast) 8 Women Won
2002 Online Film Critics Society Best Cast 8 Women Nominated


  1. Gates, Anita (19 October 2017). "Danielle Darrieux, French Film Star Over 8 Decades, Is Dead at 100" via NYTimes.com.
  2. Latil, Lucas; Guyard, Bertrand (19 October 2017). "Le charme de Danielle Darrieux agissait également dans ses chansons". Le Figaro.fr.
  3. "Danielle Darrieux". Life. 4 July 1938. pp. 39–41. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  4. "Danielle Darrieux, 100". Classic Images (510): 51–52. December 2017.
  5. Marshall, Bill (2005). France and the Americas: Culture, Politics, and History : a Multidisciplinary Encyclopedia. ABC-CLIO. pp. 349–350. ISBN 9781851094110. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  6. "Danielle Darrieux". The St. Louis Star and Times. Missouri, St. Louis. 16 November 1937. p. 8. Retrieved 19 October 2019 via Newspapers.com.
  7. Lebrun, Dominique. Paris-Hollywood: Les français dans le cinéma américain. Hazan. ISBN 2-85025-136-4.
  8. "L'actrice Danielle Darrieux est morte à l'âge de 100 ans". 19 October 2017. Retrieved 19 October 2017.
  9. "Danielle Darrieux, French Film Star Over 8 Decades, Is Dead at 100". 19 October 2017 via NYTimes.com.


  • Darrieux, Danielle; Ferrière, Jean-Pierre (1995). Danielle Darrieux – Filmographie commentée par elle-même. Paris: Ramsay Cinéma. ISBN 2-84114-113-6.
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