Yvette Mimieux

Yvette Mimieux (born January 8, 1942)[1] is a retired American movie and television actress.

Yvette Mimieux
c. 1975
Yvette Carmen Mimieux

(1942-01-08) January 8, 1942
Years active1956–1992
Stanley Donen
(m. 1972; div. 1985)

Howard F. Ruby (m. 1986)

Early life and career

Yvette Carmen Mimieux was born in Los Angeles, California, United States, to a French father René Mimieux and a Mexican mother Maria del Carmen Montemayor.

Before her film career began, Mimieux was one of four finalists from a beauty contest picked by Elvis Presley (while he was filming Jailhouse Rock, 1957) who were invited to come to the set to compete for a bit role in the movie ("girl in bathing suit"). She and the other girls modeled their suits. Mimieux was not selected.

She was spotted by manager Jim Byron who, drawn by her beauty, suggested she become an actress.[2]

Her first acting appearances were in episodes of the TV shows Yancy Derringer and One Step Beyond.


Mimieux's first feature was George Pal's film version of H. G. Wells's 1895 novel The Time Machine (1960) starring Rod Taylor, in which she played the character Weena. It was made for MGM, which put her under long-term contract.

She appeared in Platinum High School (1960), produced by Albert Zugsmith for MGM, which was released before The Time Machine.[3]

She guest-starred in an episode of Mr Lucky, then was one of several leads in the highly popular teen comedy Where the Boys Are (1960).[4][5][6]

MGM put Mimieux in the ingenue role in Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1961), an expensive flop. [7] Arthur Freed wanted to team her and George Hamilton in a remake of The Clock, but it was not made.[8]

She had a central role in Light in the Piazza (1962) with Olivia de Havilland and George Hamilton, playing a mentally disabled girl. The film lost money but was well regarded critically. "I suppose I have a soulful quality," she later said. "I was often cast as a wounded person, the 'sensitive' role."[9]

She was meant to do A Summer Affair at MGM, but it was not made.[10]

She had a small part in Pal's The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm (1963), another commercial disappointment. Also later that year, she appeared in Diamond Head (1963) for Columbia, billed second to Charlton Heston.

She went to United Artists for Toys in the Attic, based on the play by Lillian Hellman and co-starring Dean Martin.

While at MGM, Mimieux guest-starred on two episodes of Dr Kildare alongside Richard Chamberlain. She played a terminally ill surfer - a performance that was much acclaimed.[11] In her appearance she was the first person on American television to show her navel.

Mimieux made a cameo as herself in Looking for Love (1964) starring Connie Francis and played Richard Chamberlain's love interest in Joy in the Morning (1965), a melodrama.


She was in a Western with Max Von Sydow at Fox, The Reward (1965); the Disney comedy Monkeys, Go Home! (1967); and a heist film The Caper of the Golden Bulls (1967).[12]

She did The Desperate Hours (1967) for TV and was reunited with Rod Taylor in the MGM action movie Dark of the Sun (1968). In 1968 she narrated a classical music concert at the Hollywood Bowl.[13][14]

Mimieux was top-billed in Three in the Attic (1969) a hit for AIP.[15]

She appeared in the critically acclaimed movie The Picasso Summer (1969) alongside Albert Finney.[16]

Mimieux was the female lead in The Delta Factor (1970), an action film.


She then had one of the leads in The Most Deadly Game (1970–71) a short-lived TV series from Aaron Spelling. She replaced Inger Stevens.[17] Around this time Mimieux had a business selling Haitian products and studied archeology; she would travel several months of each year.[18]

After making the TV movies Death Takes a Holiday (1971) and Black Noon (1971). In 1971 she sued her agent for not providing her with movie work despite taking money.[19]

She was an air hostess in MGM's Skyjacked (1972), starring Heston[20] and was in the Fox science-fiction film The Neptune Factor (1973).[21]

By the early 1970s Mimieux was unhappy with the roles offered to female actors. "The women they [male screenwriters] write are all one dimensional," she said. "They have no complexity in their lives. It's all surface. There's nothing to play. They're either sex objects or vanilla pudding."[22]

Mimieux had been writing for several years prior to this film, mostly journalism and short stories. She had the idea for a story about a Pirandello-like theme, "the study of a woman, the difference between what she appears to be and what she is: appearance vs reality." Mimieux says the more she thought about the character "the more I wanted to play her. Here was the kind of nifty, multifaceted part I'd been looking for. So instead of a short story, I wrote it as a film."[22]

She wrote a thriller which she took to producers Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg who submitted it to ABC as a TV movie. It aired as Hit Lady (1974).[22]

She and was in The Legend of Valentino (1975), in which she played Rudolph Valentino's second wife, Natacha Rambova.

She was in the Canadian thriller Journey into Fear (1975) and made a pilot for a TV sitcom based on Bell, Book and Candle (1976), but it was not picked up.

Later Films

Mimieux was a falsely imprisoned woman victimized by a sadistic guard in the film Jackson County Jail (1976) with Tommy Lee Jones for New World Pictures, which was a box-office hit.

She was in some horror-oriented TV movies, Snowbeast (1977), Devil Dog: The Hound of Hell (1978), and Disaster on the Coastliner (1979). She also did the TV movies Ransom for Alice! (1977) and Outside Chance (1978).

Later, Mimieux co-starred in the first PG-rated Walt Disney Productions feature, The Black Hole (1979). She had the lead in Circle of Power (1981).[23]

Mimieux was in the TV movie Forbidden Love (1982) and Night Partners (1983) and guest-starred on The Love Boat and Lime Street.

She made Obsessive Love (1984), a television movie about a female stalker which she co-wrote and co-produced. "There are few enough films going these days," she said, "and there are three or four women who are offered all the good parts. Of course I could play a lot of awful parts that are too depressing to contemplate.... [Television] is s not the love affair I have with film, but television can be a playground for interesting ideas. I love wild, baroque, slightly excessive theatrical ideas, and because television needs so much material, there's a chance to get some of those odd ideas done."[24]

[25] She had the lead in Berrenger's (1985), a short-lived TV series and had a support role in the TV movie The Fifth Missile (1986).

Mimieux guest-starred in a TV movie Perry Mason: The Case of the Desperate Deception (1990). Her last film was Lady Boss (1992).[26]

Mimieux retired from acting in 1992.

Personal life

She married in 1959 to Evan Engber. [27]

She was married to film director Stanley Donen from 1972 until their divorce in 1985.[28][29] In 1986 Mimieux married Howard F. Ruby, chairman emeritus and founder of Oakwood Worldwide.[30] She has no children.


Television work


  • The Wonderful World Of The Brothers Grimm 1962 (MGM Records), as The Dancing Princess
  • Baudelaire's Flowers Of Evil (Les Fleurs Du Mal) 1968 (Connoisseur Society), reading excerpts of Cyril Scott's 1909 translation with music by Ali Akbar Khan


  1. "Free Family Tree, Genealogy and Family History". Familytreelegends.com. Retrieved December 31, 2015.
  2. UNDER HEDDA'S HAT: The Mystery of Yvette Mimieux Chicago Tribune 9 June 1963: h36.
  3. Yvette steals the show: A year ago she was on our cover. Now look at the girl--she's had two movies, five proposals and starred at the Debs' Ball! Actors are out! Hyams, Joe. Los Angeles Times 6 Dec 1959: J21
  4. "Where the Boys Are (1960) Directed by Henry Levin". LETTERBOXD. Retrieved October 11, 2018.
  5. Levy, Emanuel. "WHERE THE BOYS ARE (1960): Iconic Spring Break Movie, Starring Connie Francis, Dolores Hart, Yvette Mimieux". EmanuelLevy.com. Emanuel Levy - Cinema 24/7. Retrieved March 25, 2013.
  6. New Pictures Get Go-Ahead Signals: Karlson, Levin Will Direct for Widmark and Pasternak Scott, John L. Los Angeles Times 18 May 1960: A11.
  7. YVETTE MIMIEUX SIGNED: Actress Gets Role in 'Four Horsemen of Apocalypse' New York Times 12 Aug 1960: 11.
  8. Mimieux, Hamilton Teamed: Film Is Remake of 'Clock'; Mary Costa Going to Rome Hopper, Hedda. Los Angeles Times 7 June 1961: B10.
  9. The Mystique of Actress Yvette Mimieux By Megan Rosenfeld. The Washington Post 29 Nov 1979: D13.
  10. Yvette Mimieux to Do 'Summer Affair': Changes in Motion Picture Code Decried by Rock Hudson Hopper, Hedda. Los Angeles Times 23 Feb 1962: C16.
  11. Yvette Mimieux in Television Debut Los Angeles Times 5 Sep 1963: C12.
  12. Yvette Mimieux's Got a Secret Hopper, Hedda. Los Angeles Times 11 Apr 1965: m4.
  13. Foster Conducts Program at Bowl Arlen, Walter. Los Angeles Times 15 Aug 1968: e24.
  14. Yvette Looking Ahead to Grandmotherhood Boyle, Hal. Los Angeles Times 11 Aug 1967: d17.
  15. Ebert, Roger (December 20, 1968). "THREE IN THE ATTIC". RogerEbert.com. Chicago Sun-Times.
  16. Lindbergs, Kimberly. "A Tale of Two Films: THE PICASSO SUMMER (1969)". CINEBEATS. Retrieved April 15, 2012.
  17. Yvette Mimieux in Cast of Deadly Game Los Angeles Times 19 May 1970: f18.
  18. Actress Mixes Altruism and Business By JUDY KLEMESRUD. New York Times 23 Sep 1970: 54.
  19. Film Agency Sued by Yvette Mimieux Los Angeles Times 21 Aug 1971: 20.
  20. Soares, Emily. "Skyjacked (1972)". TCM.com. Turner Classic Movies (TCM). Retrieved August 16, 2018.
  21. MOVIES: Yvette Mimieux's front page performance Servi, Vera. Chicago Tribune 28 May 1972: k14.
  22. Yvette Mimieux's Right for This Role Los Angeles Times 7 Oct 1974: e17.
  23. "Circle of Power (1981) Directed by Bobby Roth". LETTERBOXD. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
  24. 'Obsessive Love,' Movie With Yvette Mimieux By JOHN O'CONNOR. New York Times 2 Oct 1984: C18.
  25. MIMIEUX PRODUCES A MOVIE FOR TV Farber, Stephen. New York Time1 Oct 1984: C.17.
  26. "Overview for Yvette Mimieux". Turner Classic Movies.
  27. "Yvette Mimieux Married". The New York Times. 27 Oct 1961: 27
  28. "Yvette Mimieux". Nndb.com. Retrieved December 31, 2015.
  29. "Overview for Yvette Mimieux". Tcm.com. January 8, 1942. Retrieved December 31, 2015.
  30. "Howard F. Ruby". Oakwood.com. Retrieved December 31, 2015.
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