Marie-France Pisier

Marie-France Pisier (10 May 1944  24 April 2011)[1] was a French actress, screenwriter, and director. She appeared in numerous films of the French New Wave and twice earned the national César Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Marie-France Pisier
1992 photo
Born(1944-05-10)10 May 1944
Died24 April 2011(2011-04-24) (aged 66)
Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer, Var, France
Years active1962–2010
Spouse(s)Georges Kiejman (1973-1979, divorced)
Thierry Funck-Brentano (?-2011, her death)
ChildrenSon and daughter
RelativesGilles Pisier (brother)
Évelyne Pisier (sister)
AwardsCésar Award
Best Supporting Actress
1976 Cousin Cousine and French Provincial
1977 Barocco

Early life

Pisier was born in Dalat, French Indochina, where her father was serving as colonial governor of French Indochina.[1] Her younger brother, Gilles Pisier, is a mathematician and a member of the French Academy of Sciences. Her sister, Evelyne, was the first wife of Bernard Kouchner, a French politician and the co-founder of Médecins Sans Frontières. The family moved to Paris when Marie-France was 12 years old.


Five years later, she made her screen acting debut for director François Truffaut in his 1962 film, Antoine and Colette. Pisier had a brief but incendiary romance with the older, married Truffaut. Despite its end, she later appeared in Truffaut's Stolen Kisses (Baiser volés, 1968) and Love on the Run (L'Amour en fuite, 1979), which was the fifth and final film in Truffaut's series about the character Antoine Doinel. Pisier was credited as a co-writer of the screenplay.[1] In a review in The New York Times, film critic Vincent Canby praised her for a "ravishing performance".[2]

Pisier later collaborated on the screenplay to Jacques Rivette's Celine and Julie Go Boating (Céline et Julie vont en bâteau, 1974); she also played a significant supporting role in the film. Later in the same year, she had a role in Luis Buñuel’s Phantom of Liberty.[1]

She gained widespread public recognition in 1975 when she appeared in Jean-Charles Tacchella's popular comedy, Cousin Cousine. Her role as the volatile Karine earned her a César Award for Best Supporting Actress.[3]

Her subsequent feature films included three with director André Téchiné: French Provincial (Souvenirs en France, 1975); The Bronte Sisters (Les Sœurs Brontë, 1979), in which she portrayed Charlotte; and Barocco (1976), for which she won a second César for her performance alongside Isabelle Adjani and Gérard Depardieu.[3]

Pisier attempted to crack the American film industry with The Other Side of Midnight (1977), adapted from a Sidney Sheldon novel. She appeared on American television in the miniseries The French Atlantic Affair (1979), and Scruples the following year. She made two more Hollywood films, French Postcards (1979) with Debra Winger and Chanel Solitaire (1981) with Timothy Dalton.[1]

Returning to France, Pisier made her directorial debut with The Governor's Party (Le Bal du gouverneur, 1990), which she adapted from her own novel. She also played Madame Verdurin in Raúl Ruiz's adaptation of Marcel Proust, Time Regained (Le Temps retrouvé, 1999). Her final film as director was with Bérénice Bejo (winner of the César Award for Best Actress in The Artist) in Like An Airplane (Comme un avion, 2002).

Personal life

Pisier's first marriage to Georges Kiejman ended in divorce.[1][4] She resided in Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer, Var, and was married to Thierry Funck-Brentano. The couple had a son, Mathieu, and a daughter, Iris.[1]

IN 1971, Pisier signed the Manifesto of the 343, publicly declaring she had an illegal abortion.[5]


The 66-year-old actress died on 24 April 2011. She was found dead in her swimming pool by Funck-Brentano and is believed to have drowned.[1][3] She is survived by her sister Évelyne, brother Gilles, and both children.[1] The local mayor announced her death to the news media and President Nicolas Sarkozy made a public statement honouring “her supreme elegance born of the most perfect simplicity.”[6][1]


Pisier appeared in more than 70 films including:


  1. Grimes, William (26 April 2011). "Marie-France Pisier, New Wave Darling, Dies at 66". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 April 2011.
  2. Canby, Vincent (6 April 1979). "NYT Critics' Pick: Love on the Run". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 April 2011.
  3. "French New Wave muse Marie-France Pisier found dead". Paris. Agence France-Presse. 24 April 2011. Retrieved 27 April 2011.
  4. Actrice, Marie-France Pisier était aussi romancière Archived 30 April 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  5. "manifeste des 343". 23 April 2001. Retrieved 28 May 2019.
  6. "Mort de l'actrice Marie-France Pisier" (in French). Télévision Française 1. 2011. Archived from the original on 26 April 2011. Retrieved 26 April 2011. L'actrice Marie-France Pisier, âgée de 66 ans, est décédée dans la nuit de samedi à dimanche à Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer (Var) où elle résidait, a-t-on appris auprès de la mairie de la commune.

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