Françoise Dorleac made her first film when she just 15. “A photographer asked if I would model for some fashion pictures and I said fine. A producer saw my pictures in the press and hired me for a small role for a film during the school holidays.” Acting was in her blood. Her father, Maurice Dorleac, was a veteran character actor of stage and screen; her mother, Renee Simonot, was an actress who revoiced Hollywood films, including Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz; her younger sister is Catherine Deneuve.
Françoise was as beautiful, as talented, and as big an international star as her younger sister. However, Françoise wasn’t as ambitious or as wild as Catherine.
“I see myself as a girl who is always dreaming of romance, and the man she wants to marry, a girl who dances when she is happy.”
Françoise made sixteen films during her short career, including Roman Polanski’s classic film Cul de Sac, in which she brilliantly captured the self-obsessed Teresa against the weak and dominated, Donald Pleasance, as George. Françoise gave substance to Francois Truffaut’s tale of adultery La Peau Douce (aka The Soft Skin), and was almost a match for Michael Caine’s Harry Palmer in Ken Russell’s greatly under-rated The Billion Dollar Brain .
On 26 June 1967, Françoise died in an horrific accident when she lost control of her rented car on the Esterel-Côte d’Azur freeway. She was traveling to Nice airport to fly to London, where she was to finish filming on The Billion Dollar Brain . The car flipped over and burst into flames. Witnesses saw the actress struggle to escape the vehicle, but she was unable to open the door. Police identified Dorleac from a stub of her check book, her diary and her driving license.
Her early death at the age 25, has often over-shadowed the quality of her work - both as actress and singer - and it robbed cinema of “a tried and true talent and incomparably beautiful mademoiselle who showed every sign of taking Hollywood by storm.”
Here is something to remember her by: the beautiful and wonderful Françoise singing, Mario J’ai Mal. Plus a bonus clip of Françoise with her sister Catherine Deneuve in the candy-colored musical Les Demoiselles de Rochefort (aka The Young Girls of Rochefort), in which they co-starred with Gene Kelly.
Bonus clip of Françoise Dorleac and Catherine Deneuve, after the jump…
With thanks to Tony Vermillion
Forget about Twilight or that lame True Blood series, this is how vampire should be done! The insanely brilliant opening moments—featuring Bauhaus performing Bela Lugosi’s Dead—from Tony Scott’s 1983 film, The Hunger has lost none of its power over the years. The film stars Catherine Deneuve, David Bowie and Susan Sarandon and if you haven’t seen it, it’s a sexy, smart delight. The unlucky goth chick who is the recipient of Bowie’s vampiric intentions in this scene was played by none other than Dangerous Minds pal, singer/actress Ann Magnuson.
This is one of the great opening scenes of any movie ever made if you ask me. I actually saw this in a theater all by myself—or so I thought—and the effect was electrifying. I was 17 at the time and I’d just gotten massively baked in the parking lot. I walked in, sat down to THIS and just when things calmed down a bit onscreen, I was scared witless by an extremely elderly woman, who had been sleeping two rows in front of me, suddenly darting up and staring straight at me and wagging her finger in my face!