You will have seen the beautiful Gillian Hills before - in A Clockwork Orange with Barbara Scott, sucking on an ice lolly, getting chatted-up by Malcom McDowall’s Alex in the Melodia Diskbootik; or perhaps in Blow-Up posing, wrestling and getting intimate with Jane Birkin and David Hemmings; or maybe looking like a teenage Brigitte Bardot doing the hippy-hippy-shake with Oliver Reed in Beat Girl.
Born in Egypt, raised in France, daughter of a writer and adventurer, grand-daughter of a poet, Gillian Hills was discovered by Roger Vadim, who thought he’d found his next Bardot, he gave her a small part in his film version of Les liaisons dangereuses, (1959) with Jeanne Moreau. It wa senough to attract interest and led to the teenage Hills starring, alongside Christopher Lee and Oliver Reed in Beat Girl (1960).
An auspicious start, which should have brought bigger and better, but Hills switched direction and signed a recording deal with Barclay Records, who released her first EP “Allo Brigitte..ne coupez pas!”. Over the next 5 years Hills concentrated on her singing career, which saw her headlining at the Olympia Theater with the legendary, Johnny Hallyday, and working with the brilliant Serge Gainsbourg.
Even with such A-list names, Hills jolly toe-tapping tunes had mixed success and she was eventually dropped by Barclay in 1965. Hills then signed for AZ Records and released a cover of The Zombies hit “Leave Me Be”, she also returned to films with appearances in Antonioni’s Blow-Up, the film of John Osborne’s Inadmissible Evidence, Three and the Kubrick classic A Clockwork Orange. Her acting career never took off, and after a final leading role in the Hammer horror Demons of the Mind, Hill retired and moved to New York, where she started her career as an artist and illustrator.
Now Gillian Hills lives in England (with apparently the manager of AC/DC), but thanks to the wonders of YouTube, we do have some of her hit Euro-songs and career highlights to look back on. Bliss.
Gillian Hills - “Zou Bisou bisou”
Gillian Hills - “Les jolis coeur”
Gillian Hills - “Mon coeur est prêt”
Bonus - Gillian Hills and Oliver Reed dance - ‘Beat Girl’ (1960)
Bonus - Gillian Hills and Serge Gainsbourg 1963