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Born Léonie Marie Julie Bathiat
(1898-05-15)15 May 1898
Courbevoie, France
Died 24 July 1992(1992-07-24) (aged 94)
Paris, France
Occupation Actress, singer, fashion model
Years active 1930–1963

Arletty (15 May 1898 – 24 July 1992) was a French actress, singer, and fashion model.

Life and career[edit]

Arletty was born Léonie Marie Julie Bathiat in Courbevoie (near Paris), to a working-class family. Her early career was dominated by the music hall, and she later appeared in plays and cabaret. Arletty was a stage performer for ten years before her film debut in 1930. Arletty’s career took off around 1936, when she appeared as leading lady in the stage plays Les Joies du Capitole and Fric-Frac, in which she starred opposite Michel Simon.

In 1945, Arletty appeared in her most famous film role, the central part of Garance in Marcel Carné's Les Enfants du Paradis, her fourth role for the director. Arletty was imprisoned in 1945 for her wartime liaison with a German Luftwaffe officer, Hans-Jürgen Soehring,[1] during the occupation of France. She allegedly later commented on the experience, "My heart is French but my ass is international."[2] After a moderately successful period as a stage actress in later life, she was attacked by a wild gorilla in 1963, which left her nearly blind, forcing her to retire. One of her final screen appearances was in a small role as an elderly French woman in The Longest Day (1962).

After her death in 1992, Arletty was cremated, and her ashes interred in her hometown at the Nouveau Cimetière de Courbevoie.[3]


In 1995, the government of France issued a series of limited edition coins to commemorate the centenary of film that included a 100 Franc coin bearing the image of Arletty.[4]

Selected filmography[edit]


  1. ^ Mark Le Fanu Book Review: "And the Show Went On", Spear's, 4 July 2011
  2. ^ Geoffrey Nowell Smith, The Oxford History of World Cinema, p. 347. See also Arletty, "mon coeur est français mais mon cul est international !"
  3. ^ Tronchoni, José L Bernabé (4 November 2003). "Arletty-Leonie Bathiat". Find a Grave. Retrieved 21 May 2010. 
  4. ^ "MDP les francs". Monnaie de collection. Retrieved 21 May 2010. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Arletty (1971). La Défense. Paris: de la Table ronde. 
  • Arletty; Michel Souvais (1987). Je suis comme je suis. Paris: Vertiges du Nord / Carrère. ISBN 2-86804-404-2. 
  • Souvais, Michel (September 2006). Arletty, confidences à son secrétaire. Paris: Publibook. 

External links[edit]