Paris Icons: Catherine Deneuve

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Paris Icons: Catherine Deneuve
This is the first article in a series on famous residents of Paris Without question, Catherine Deneuve is one of the greatest European actresses ever to light up the screen. Her talent and beauty remain undiminished over the passage of time and a career that has spanned over 60 years. Her first performance in film aged 12, was in André Hunebelle’s, Les Collégiennes, where she appeared with her younger sister Sylvie Dorléac. The sisters, including Françoise Dorléac, were simply carrying on the family tradition. Both their parents, Maurice Dorléac and their mother, Renée Simonot, were stage actors. Sylvie Dorléac, after a short-lived career in film, has been Catherine’s secretary in Paris for almost 40 years. The Dorléacs were an especially close and loving family and a vital mainstay of Deneuve’s life and career. (Deneuve’s mother, born in 1911, only died two years ago in 2019 at the impressive age of 109.) Catherine Deneuve in 1995 (C) Georges Biard, CC BY-SA 3.0 Deneuve’s elder sister by a year, Françoise Dorléac, another renowned beauty and actress, was tragically killed in a car accident in Nice in 1967. She was 25 years old. The brutal, sudden loss of Françoise was the cruelest bereavement for Catherine. In New York the following year (1968), the shooting of The April Fools was to prove especially difficult. Awaiting impatiently the arrival of her small son Christian from Paris, she wrote that, “more and more, I need time alone to relax, I’m finding people increasingly difficult, I miss my Françoise, feel her with me constantly, a source of both courage and sadness.” Two months later celebrating her own 25th birthday with the family, Catherine broke down, “twenty five years old, that’s how old Françoise was, my sweet beloved sister. She still haunts me at night.” In Deneuve’s diaries, Close up and Personal, Deneuve preserves her private life with an unflinching determination; this is no “kiss and tell” memoir so her words on Françoise are especially poignant.   View this post on Instagram   A post shared by Catherine Deneuve (@catherinedeneuveoficiel)
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Lead photo credit : Catherine Deneuve (C) Martin Kraft, CC BY-SA 3.0

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After some dreary years in the Civil Service, Marilyn realized her dream of living in Paris. She arrived in Paris in December 1967 and left in July 1969. From there she lived in Mallorca, London, Oman, and Dubai, where she moved with her husband and young son and worked for Gulf News, Khaleej Times and freelanced for Emirates Woman magazine. During this time she was also a ground stewardess for Middle East Airlines. For the past 18 years they've lived on the Isle of Wight.