French film legend Danielle Darrieux dies aged 100

Darrieux was still working at 99, and lent her voice for the grandmother in Marjane Satrapi's 2007 animated hit "Persepolis".

Published: 19th October 2017 03:47 PM  |   Last Updated: 19th October 2017 03:47 PM   |  A+A-

French actress and singer Danielle Darrieux holds up a prop gold record at the Paris Saint-Maurice studios in 1959. Darrieux, a prolific French actress whose movie and theater career spanned eight decades, has died. (File Photo | AP)


PARIS: Danielle Darrieux, one of France's most enduring and glamourous film stars despite her wartime collaboration with the Germans, has died aged 100 at her home near Paris, her partner said Thursday.

She became unwell "recently after a little fall", Jacques Jenvrin told AFP.

With her smouldering good looks and sulky pout, Darrieux became a huge international star in the 1930s, playing opposite Douglas Fairbanks Jr in the Hollywood romance "The Rage of Paris" in 1938.

But her decision to keep working after the Nazis occupied France, and to star in movies made by the studio set up by their propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels, saw her branded as a collaborationist.

However, Darrieux later said that she was forced to take part in a notorious publicity tour to Berlin in 1942 so she could free her husband, the playboy and diplomat Porfirio Rubirosa, who had been interned by the Nazis as a spy.

She left the German-backed studio after he was freed and went into hiding under a false name.

Three years after the war ended she returned to great acclaim in a string of striking roles in Max Ophuls' "La Ronde", "Madame de" ("The Earrings of Madame de") and playing the Queen of Spain in "Ruy Blas" by Jean Cocteau.

Whatever doubts that lingered about her wartime activities were brushed aside by her searing performance in the title role of "Marie-Octobre", a 1959 thriller about the survivors of a French Resistance network who try to discover who betrayed their murdered leader.

Darrieux -- who died on Tuesday -- was still working at 99, and lent her voice for the grandmother in Marjane Satrapi's 2007 animated hit "Persepolis".

"I went to the studio like one goes to school, I was lazy and I remained so," she once said of a life spent on set, which began in the comedy "Le Bal" when she was only 14.

She was far from lazy, however, going on to act in more than 140 films and television dramas over the next eight decades.

They including some of the best-loved French postwar films, and she struck up a particular rapport with Jacques Demy, appearing in his "Les Demoiselles de Rochefort" as the mother and "Une chambre en ville" in 1982.

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