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Danielle Darrieux

01 May 1917 (Age 100)

Danielle Darrieux Biography

Danielle Yvonne Marie Antoinette Darrieux is a French actress and singer. Her career of eight decades is among the longest in film history.

She is the daughter of an army doctor who died when she was seven years old. Raised in Paris she studied the cello and piano at the Conservatoire de Musique. At 13, she got a part in the musical film Le Bal (1931). Her beauty combined with her singing and dancing ability led to numerous other offers.

She signed with Universal Studios to star opposite Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. in The Rage of Paris (1938).

Under the German occupation of France during World War II, she continued to perform, a decision that was severely criticized by her compatriots, but the manager of the German Continental threatened to deport her brother to Germany.

She returned to Hollywood to make the 1951 MGM musical, Rich, Young and Pretty after several years in Europe. Joseph L. Mankiewicz lured her to star opposite James Mason in 5 Fingers (1952). Back home, in 1953 she starred opposite Charles Boyer and Vittorio de Sica in Max Ophüls' The Earrings of Madame de..., and she appeared in The Red and the Black (1954). The next year she starred in Lady Chatterley's Lover. Due to its content, the film was banned by the Catholic censors in the United States.

Approaching 40, she played a supporting role in United Artists' epic Alexander the Great (1955) starring Richard Burton and Claire Bloom; it was her last American film. In 1961 she went to England at the request of director Lewis Gilbert to star opposite Kenneth More in The Greengage Summer. 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 Francoise Sagan.

Darrieux replaced Katharine Hepburn in the Broadway musical, Coco, based on the life of Coco Chanel. Darrieux's reviews were positive but the play, essentially a showcase for Hepburn, soon folded without her. In 1971-72 she also appeared in the short-lived productions of Ambassador. She has continued to work, her career now 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 Iranian Islamic revolution on a girl's life as she grows to adulthood.

Personal life
In 1935, Darrieux married director/screenwriter, Henri Decoin, who encouraged her to try Hollywood.

After her divorce, she and a Dominican Republic diplomat, Porfirio Rubirosa, married in 1942. His anti-Nazi opinions resulted in his forced residence in Germany. Darrieux accepted a promotional trip in Berlin in exchange for Rubirosa's liberation. They lived in Switzerland until the end of the war, and divorced in 1947.

She married script-writer George Mitsikides in 1948, and lived with him until his death in 1991.
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