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)
Nice, France
Cause of deathCar accident
Alma materFrench National Academy of Dramatic Arts
OccupationActress, singer
Years active1960–67
Parent(s)Maurice Dorléac
Renée Simonot
RelativesCatherine Deneuve (sister)
Christian Vadim (nephew)
Chiara Mastroianni (niece)

Françoise Dorléac (21 March 1942 – 26 June 1967) was a French actress. She was the daughter of screen actor Maurice Dorléac and Renée Simonot, and the elder sister of Catherine Deneuve. The two sisters starred together in the 1967 musical, The Young Girls of Rochefort. Her other films include Philippe de Broca's movie L'Homme de Rio, François Truffaut's La Peau douce, Roman Polanski's Cul-de-sac and Val Guest's Where the Spies Are.


Early Films[edit]

Slim, pale-skinned and brunette, Dorléac 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. Dorleac 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.

Dorleac 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 Cassel in Arsène Lupin contre Arsène Lupin [fr] (1962) and was one of many names who appeared in Teuf-teuf (1963).

French stardom[edit]

Dorleac 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 Francois Truffaut.

She was in The Gentle Art of Seduction (1964) with Belmondo and Jean-Paul Brialy, with her sister in a support part. Dorleac 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 [fr] (1962) opposite Jean-Claude Brialy, and Male Hunt (1964), with Belmondo and her sister.

International Career[edit]

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

That Man from Rio and Soft Skin were seen widely internationally and Dorleac 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).

Dorleac 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 candy-coated The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967), a colorful homage to the Hollywood musical.

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 on 26 June 1967 in a motor accident. She lost control of a rented Renault 10 and hit a signpost ten kilometres from Nice at the Villeneuve-Loubet exit of the highway La Provençale. The car flipped over, and burst into flames. She 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 license.



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