Death of Jeanne Moreau at 89

French icon who worked with all the greats

by Richard Mowe

Jeanne Moreau at the Cannes Film Festival in 2005
Jeanne Moreau at the Cannes Film Festival in 2005 Photo: Richard Mowe

The iconic French actress Jeanne Moreau has died aged 89, it was announced in Paris today by her agent.

The actress, singer, screenwriter and director was best known for starring in the François Truffaut film Jules Et Jim in 1962 and Louis Malle’s Lift To The Scaffold.

She was the recipient of multiple lifetime achievement awards, including a BAFTA fellowship awarded to her in 1996, and served on the jury of the third edition of the European Film Awards when they were held in Glasgow in 1990 during the city’s reign as European City of Culture. She was awarded a European Film Academy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997.

She was a friend and collaborator of many other of the most recognisable figures in French cinema, including Jean Cocteau, Jean Genet and Marguerite Duras.

Jeanne d'Hauteserre, mayor of the 8th arrondissement in Paris, where she lived, confirmed the news today saying: “She had a sensual beauty and an inimitable serious voice, which has fascinated the greatest directors during a career of 65 years.”

Born in Paris on 23 January 1928, Moreau made her theatrical debut in 1947, and established herself as one of the leading actresses of the Comedie Française. She began playing small roles in films in 1949 and eventually achieved prominence with such directors as Louis Malle and François Truffaut. She was at her most prolific during the 1960s, but continued to work in recent years.

Latterly she was said to be reclusive and in poor health and had not been seen in public for some time.

Read our full obituary on Jeanne Moreau - the feminist femme fatale

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