Françoise Dorléac

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Françoise Dorléac
Francoise dorleac.jpg
Born(1942-03-21)21 March 1942
Paris, France
Died26 June 1967(1967-06-26) (aged 25)
Alma materFrench National Academy of Dramatic Arts
Years active1960–1967
Parent(s)Maurice Dorléac
Renée Simonot
RelativesCatherine Deneuve (sister)
Christian Vadim (nephew)
Chiara Mastroianni (niece)
Dorléac with François Truffaut, during a visit to Israel, 1963
Dorléac with François Truffaut, during a visit to Israel, 1963

Françoise Paulette Louise Dorléac (21 March 1942 – 26 June 1967) was a French actress. She was the elder sister of Catherine Deneuve, with whom she starred in the 1967 musical, The Young Girls of Rochefort. Her other films include Philippe de Broca's movie That Man from Rio, François Truffaut's The Soft Skin, Roman Polanski's Cul-de-sac, and Val Guest's Where the Spies Are.[1]


Early films[edit]

Dorléac was the daughter of screen actors Maurice Dorléac and Renée Simonot.[2] Slim, fair and blonde, she made her film debut in The Wolves in the Sheepfold (1960), directed by Hervé Bromberger. She went on to appear in The Door Slams (1960) with Dany Saval and her sister Catherine Deneuve. Dorléac had a small role in Tonight or Never (1961) with Anna Karina for director Michel Deville, The Girl with the Golden Eyes (1961) with Marie Laforêt, All the Gold in the World (1961) with Bourvil, and Adorable Liar (1961) from director Deville.

Dorléac was Jean-Pierre Cassel's leading lady in The Dance (1962) and had one of the leads in a TV movie, Les trois chapeaux claques (1962), directed by Jean-Pierre Marchand.

She was reunited with Jean Pierre Cassel in Arsène Lupin contre Arsène Lupin [fr] (1962) and was one of many stars of the television movie Teuf-teuf (1963).

French stardom[edit]

Dorléac leapt to international stardom with the female lead in That Man from Rio (1964) starring Jean-Paul Belmondo and directed by Philippe de Broca. She followed it with The Soft Skin (1964) directed by François Truffaut.

She was in The Gentle Art of Seduction (1964) with Belmondo and Jean-Paul Brialy, with her sister in a support part. Dorléac was one of several French stars in Circle of Love (1964) directed by Roger Vadim, and appeared in a TV show, Les petites demoiselles (1964), directed by Deville and starring De Broca. She also appeared in the comedy films, Arsène Lupin contre Arsène Lupin (1962) opposite Jean-Claude Brialy, and Male Hunt (1964), with Belmondo and her sister.

International career[edit]

Dorléac and Michael Caine during the filming of Billion Dollar Brain at Helsinki Ice Hall, February 1967.

That Man from Rio and Soft Skin were seen widely internationally and Dorléac received an offer to play the female lead in an expensive Hollywood financed epic, Genghis Khan (1965). She was David Niven's love interest in a spy film at MGM, Where the Spies Are (1966).

Dorléac appeared as the adulterous wife in Roman Polanski's black comedy Cul-de-sac (1966), shot in Britain. She returned to France to star in a TV adaption of the Prosper Mérimée novel Julie de Chaverny ou la Double Méprise (1966) directed by Marchand. Then she joined Gene Kelly and her sister Catherine, who was a cinematic star by this time, in The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967), an homage to Hollywood musicals.

Her final film role was the female lead in Billion Dollar Brain (1967) opposite Michael Caine, who played spy Harry Palmer.


Dorléac was on the brink of international stardom when she died in a traffic accident on 26 June 1967, aged 25.[3] She lost control of her rented Renault 10 and hit a signpost ten kilometres from Nice at the Villeneuve-Loubet exit of the autoroute La Provençale. The car flipped over and burst into flames. Dorléac had been en route to Nice Airport and was afraid of missing her flight. She was seen struggling to get out of the car, but was unable to open the door. Police later identified her body only from the fragment of a cheque book, a diary, and her driver's licence.[citation needed]


Feature films[edit]

Television roles[edit]

  • Les trois chapeaux claques (TV movie, 1962) – Paula
  • Les petites demoiselles (TV movie, 1964) – Anne
  • Julie de Chaverny ou la Double Méprise (TV movie, 1967) – Julie

Appearances as herself[edit]

  • Cinépanorama (TV series documentary, 1959) – herself
  • Les échos du cinéma (TV series short, 1961–1962) – herself
  • Discorama (TV series, 1962) – herself
  • Teuf-teuf (TV musical divertissement, 1963) – herself
  • 4 FOIS D – Françoise Dorléac (Documentary short, 1964) – herself
  • Grand écran (TV series documentary, 1964) – herself
  • Ni figue ni raisin (TV series, 1965) – herself
  • New Reports from France (TV series documentary, 1966) – herself, segment four
  • Dim Dam Dom (TV series documentary, 1966) – herself
  • Gala de l'Unicef (TV series, 1966) – herself
  • Septième art septième case (TV series, 1966) – herself
  • Derrière l'écran (TV series, 1966) – herself
  • Tilt (TV series, 1967) – herself
  • Hollywood in Deblatschka Pescara (Short film, 1967) – herself, uncredited
  • The Monkees (TV series, 1968) – herself, uncredited (one episode, filmed days before her death, aired posthumously)


  1. ^ "A Nandy et Seine-Port, personne n'oublie les « sÅ?urs jumelles »". 16 July 2010.
  2. ^ "Renée Dorléac, comédienne et mère de Catherine Deneuve, est morte à 109 ans".
  3. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (30 August 2022). "Charlbi Dean was a true star-in-the-making. Her loss is a huge one". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 30 August 2022. Retrieved 30 August 2022.

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