Claude Jade

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Claude Jade
Screenshot of Claude Jade in Domicile conjugal.JPG
Claude Jade in Domicile conjugal (1970)
Born Claude Marcelle Jorré
(1948-10-08)8 October 1948
Dijon, France
Died 1 December 2006(2006-12-01) (aged 58)
Boulogne-Billancourt, France
Occupation Actress
Years active 1967–2006
Spouse(s) Bernard Coste (1972–2006)

Claude Marcelle Jorré, better known as Claude Jade (French: [klod ʒad]; 1948–2006), was a French actress. She is known for starring as Christine in François Truffaut's three films Stolen Kisses (1968), Bed and Board (1970) and Love on the Run (1979). Jade acted in theatre, film and television. Her film work outside of France included the Soviet Union, the United States, Italy and Japan.

Early career[edit]

The daughter of university professors, Jade spent three years at Dijon's Conservatory of Dramatic Art, where in 1964 she won a best actress prize for her portrayal of Agnès in Molière's L'école des femmes.[1] In 1966 she won the Prix de Comédie for Jean Giraudoux's stage play Ondine, performed at the Comédie Boulogne. She moved to Paris and became a student of Jean-Laurent Cochet at the Edouard VII theater, and began acting in television productions, including a leading role in TV series Les oiseaux rares.

Films with François Truffaut[edit]

While performing as Frida in Pirandello's Henri IV, in a production by Sacha Pitoëff at the Théâtre Moderne, Jade was discovered by New Wave film director François Truffaut. He was "completely taken by her beauty, her manners, her kindness, and her joie de vivre",[1] and cast her in the role of Christine Darbon in Stolen Kisses (1968). During the filming, Jade and Truffaut were engaged at one point. Stolen Kisses won great acclaim and put Jade in the international spotlight for her strong performance. In her role as Christine she taught her lover Antoine the best way to butter toast in the morning,[2] and engaged in other amusing scenes with him. The American critic Pauline Kael wrote that Jade "seems a less ethereal, more practical Catherine Deneuve". Playing the same character, Jade appeared in two more movies by Truffaut, Bed and Board (1970), and Love on the Run (1979). Truffaut uses the occasion to examine three states, three ages, of his heroine, played with the right middle-class gentility and innocence by Claude Jade: loved from a distance (Stolen Kisses); married and misled (Bed and Board); divorced but still on good terms (Love on the Run). Jade's role is characterized by her good behaviour, the promptness of her glance, a sense of sacrifice which is by no means "tragic". She is beautiful and simple and enchanting, even when she is getting on Antoine's nerves. (Vincent Canby)

The late 1960s in film[edit]

Jade starred in Alfred Hitchcock's late film Topaz (1969), as Michèle Picard, a secret agent's anxious daughter, married to a reporter (Michel Subor). Recommended to Hitchcock by Truffaut, she was 19 years old when cast, with Dany Robin playing her mother. Hitchcock said he chose the two actresses to provide glamor, and later quipped, "Claude Jade is a rather quiet young lady, but I wouldn't guarantee [that] about her behavior in a taxi". Jade recounted that they "talked in a Paris hotel about cooking, and I gave him my recipe for soufflé and told him I liked Strangers on a Train, and that was that."[3] Hitchcock said she resembled his former star Grace Kelly, and in France she was a younger Danielle Darrieux. Some of her scenes were deleted and restored for the director's cut of Topaz in 1999. Topaz was Jade's only Hollywood film. Universal Pictures offered her a seven-year contract, which she turned down reportedly because she preferred to work in French.[4]

Screenshot from trailer of Hitchcock's Topaz with Claude Jade, Michel Subor and Dany Robin

Director Tony Richardson's film Nijinsky (a.k.a. The Dancer) (1970), based on a screenplay by Edward Albee, was canceled during pre-production by producer Harry Saltzman.[5] It was to have starred Jade as Vaslav Nijinsky's wife, alongside Rudolf Nureyev as Nijinsky and Paul Scofield as his lover Sergei Diaghilev. Truffaut's later Bed and Board contains a reference to Nureyev.

She also starred in Édouard Molinaro's My Uncle Benjamin (Mon oncle Benjamin, 1969) alongside Jacques Brel as his fiancée Manette, who refuses his advances until he produces a marriage contract and who escapes with him and the end when Manette realizes she prefers happiness to a marriage contract after all.

She also had a leading role as Linda in a modern The Count of Monte Cristo-Adaptation, Sous le signe de Monte Cristo (Under the Sign of Montecristo) by André Hunebelle. Her career continued in Belgium, where she played a young English teacher who is fatally intrigued by a murderer (Gérard Barray) in the 1969 film The Witness. Also in 1969 she starred in a television adaptation of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream by Jean-Christophe Averty.[6]

The 1970s in film and TV[edit]

Critic Vincent Canby praised her in work in Gérard Brach's The Boat on the Grass (Le bateau sur l'herbe, 1971), in which she starred as Eleonore, a young girl between two friends (Jean-Pierre Cassel, John McEnery). She starred in Hearth Fires (Les feux de la chandeleur, 1972) as Laura, a daughter who wants to reconcile her parents (Annie Girardot, Jean Rochefort) and who fells in love with her mother's best friend (Bernard Fresson). Alongside to Robert Hossein she is the priest's love Françoise in Forbidden Priests (Prêtres interdits, 1973). In Home Sweet Home (1973), she played a hardened nurse who is changed by a love affair with a social worker (Jacques Perrin).

She played a dual role in The Choice (Le choix, 1976): Anne (Jade) is a gorgeous young girl, she is quiet, reassuring and already dreaming of a life without grief among the children she would like to have with actor Jean-Pierre. But he meets the image of a woman, a mysterious, fascinating, almost unreal image: Juliette (Jade), who looks very much alike Anne, a first dancer at the Opera...

She starred in three Italian films: as a private investigator in Number One (1973), as Tiffany, the girlfriend of a private eye (Frederick Stafford, her father from Topaz) in La ragazza di via Condotti (1973), and as Maria Teresa, an unhappily married woman in Eriprando Visconti's A Spiral of Mist (Una spirale di nebbia, 1977). She played a nun in Kita No Misaki - Cap du Nord (1976), by Japanese director Kei Kumai. Among other films of the 1970s were Malicious Pleasure (Le malin plaisir, 1975), Trop c'est trop (1975) and the romantic comedy The Pawn (Le pion, 1978), in which she stars as a young widow who wins the heart of her son's teacher.

In 1970 she starred as Orphan Françoise in mini-series Mauregard, directed by Truffaut's co-writer Claude de Givray. Other TV roles in the decade are Sheherazade (in Shéhérazade), Louise de La Vallière (in Le chateau perdu), Lucile Desmoulins (in La passion de Camille et Lucile Desmoulins) and Penny in Le robots pensants, based on a horror novel by George Langelaan. She starred in many TV movies (including Mamie Rose, La Mandragore, Monsieur Seul, Fou comme François, Les anneaux de Bicêtre, Ulysse est revenu), and gained great popularity as the heroine of mini-series The Island of Thirty Coffins in 1979.

The 1980s in film and TV[edit]

Lenin in Paris

In the 1980s Jade moved to Moscow for three years with her husband Bernard Coste, a French diplomat, and her son Pierre Coste (born in 1976). She starred in two Soviet films. In Teheran 43 (1981) she played a mysterious terrorist, with Alain Delon and an international cast.[1] For Sergei Yutkevich's Lenin in Paris (1981), she played the French Bolshevik Inessa Armand, although without the rumored love affair with Vladimir Lenin.[1]

Among her other films in the 1980s were Schools Falling Apart (Le Bahut va craquer, 1981), A Captain's Honor (L'honneur d'un capitaine, 1982), Rendezvous in Paris (German, 1982) and The Man Who Wasn't There (L'homme qui n'était pas là, 1987). She also appeared in TV movies, such as La grotte aux loups (1980); Nous ne l'avons pas assez aimée (1980); Treize (1981); a dual role in Lise et Laura (1982); A Girl in the Sunflowers (1984); Voglia di volare (1984); and in episodes of the series Commissaire Moulin and Cinéma 16.

The 1990s in TV and film[edit]

During the 1990s Jade worked mainly in television, such as the TV series La tête en l'air, Fleur bleue, Une femme d'honneur, Inspecteur Moretti, Julie Lescaut and Navarro. TV movies included L'Éternité devant soi, Au bonheur des autres, Porté disparu. From 1998 to 2000 she was the lead actress in the series Tide of Life (Cap des Pins). Her last U.S. acting part was a guest appearance on The Hitchhiker, in the episode "Windows" (1990), in which she shoots her co-star David Marshall Grant.

Jade's film roles in 1990s included a mother betrayed by her husband, in Honor Roll. This was followed by her performance as shy lesbian Caroline in Jean-Pierre Mocky's Bonsoir. In order to save her inheritance, Caroline tells her aunt that her lover Gloria (Corinne Le Poulain) is her secretary and Alex (Michel Serrault) her lover. In 1998, she played a governor's wife, Reine Schmaltz, who saves herself on a lifeboat in the historical movie The Raft of the Medusa (Le Radeau de la Méduse, 1998).

The 2000s in TV and short films[edit]

In her last decade, Jade's work included the TV movie Sans famille (2000); the series La Crim (episode "Le secret" in 2004), and Groupe Flag (episode "Vrai ou faux" in 2005). She also appeared in an episode of the short film series Drug Scenes (Scénarios sur la drogue, episode "La rampe", 2000); and in the short À San Remo (2004).

Theatrical work[edit]

On stage Jade was a member of Jean Meyer's theatre company in Lyon, appearing in plays by Jean Giraudoux (Helena in The Trojan War Will Not Take Place, and Isabelle in Intermezzo); Henry de Montherlant (Port Royal); James Joyce (The Exiles); Racine (Britannicus); and Balzac (Le Faiseur). She also took roles in plays by Vladimir Volkoff (The Interrogation); Catherine Decours (Regulus 93); Michel Vinaver (Dissident il va sans dire), Alfred de Musset (Lorenzaccio) and others. She worked on stage in Lyon, Nantes, Dijon and Paris.

Many plays were adapted for TV, such as her performances as Helena in Shakespeares Midsummer Night's Dream; her Sylvie in Marcel Aymés Les oiseaux de lune; her Colomba in Jules Romains's adaptation of Ben Johnson's Volpone; her Clarisse in Jacques Deval's Il y a longtemps que je t'aime; her title role in Jules Supervielle's Shéhérazade; and her Louise de La Vallière in Le château perdu.

Her last stage role was as Célimène in Jacques Rampal's Celimene and the Cardinal, a 2006 play in alexandrines, based on Molière's characters from Le Misanthrope.

Later life[edit]

Jade published her autobiography, Baisers envolés in 2004.[7]

On 1 December 2006, Jade died of uveal melanoma which had metastasised to metastatic liver disease. She wore a prosthetic eye in her last stage performance, Celimene and the Cardinal, in August 2006.


Jade won an award in 1970 for "Révelation de la Nuit du cinéma",[7] and in 1975 she received the Prix Orange at the Cannes Film Festival. Her contributions to French culture were recognised in 1998, when was named a knight in the Légion d'honneur. In 2000 she won the New Wave Award at West Palm Beach International Film Festival for her "trend-setting role in the world cinema", followed in 2002 by the Prix Réconnaissance des Cinéphiles in Puget-Théniers.

Selected filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Director
1968 Stolen Kisses Christine Darbon François Truffaut
Topaz Michèle Picard Alfred Hitchcock
1969 The Witness Cécile Anne Walter
Mon oncle Benjamin Manette Édouard Molinaro
1970 Bed and Board Christine Doinel François Truffaut
The Boat on the Grass Éléonore Gérard Brach
1972 Hearth Fires Laura Boursault Serge Korber
1973 Home Sweet Home Claire Benoît Lamy
Number One the detective Gianni Buffardi
Special Killers (La ragazza di via Condotti) Tiffany German Lorente
Forbidden Priests Françoise Bernardeau Denys de La Patellière
1974 Malicious Pleasure Julie Bernard Toublanc-Michel
1978 The Pawn Dominique Benech Christian Gion
1978 Love on the Run Christine Doinel François Truffaut
1979 The Island of Thirty Coffins (TV series) Véronique d'Hergemont Marcel Cravenne
1980 Teheran 43 Françoise Alexandre Alov and Vladimir Naoumov
1981 Lenin in Paris Inès Armand Serguei Youtkhevitch
1982 A Captain's Honor Valouin Pierre Schoendoerffer
1983 Rendezvous in Paris Évelyne Droste Gabi Kubach
1989 Le bonheur des autres Agnès Jalamet Charles Bitsch,
1994 Bonsoir Caroline Winberg Jean-Pierre Mocky
1998 Le Radeau de la Méduse Reine Schmaltz Iradj Azimi


  1. ^ a b c d Bergan, Ronald (2006-12-04). "Claude Jade: Truffaut's love for his young discovery illuminated her scenes". The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-07-26. 
  2. ^ The toast scene is noted by Pauline Kael in 5001 Nights at the Movies, as well as in Ronald Bergan's obituary in The Guardian
  3. ^ Spoto, Donald (1999). The Dark Side of Genius: The Life of Alfred Hitchcock. De Capo. pp. 500–501. ISBN 978-0-306-80932-3. Retrieved 2010-07-26. 
  4. ^ Hitchcock by Bruno Villien p. 328-331, ISBN 8485741579
  5. ^ Richardson, Tony (1993). The Long-Distance Runner: An Autobiography. William Morrow and Company. p. 273. ISBN 9780688121013. 
  6. ^ Unifrance Yearbook 1970
  7. ^ a b Jade, Claude (2004). Baisers envolés. (Milan). ISBN 978-2-7459-1241-1. Retrieved 2009-02-12. 

External links[edit]