Leslie Claire Margaret Caron
1 July 1931
(m. 1951; div. 1954)
(m. 1956; div. 1965)
(m. 1969; div. 1980)
Jennifer Caron Hall
Leslie Claire Margaret Caron (French: [lɛsli kaʁɔ̃]; born 1 July 1931) is a French-American actress, dancer, and writer. She is the recipient of a Golden Globe Award, two BAFTA Awards, and a Primetime Emmy Award, in addition to nominations for two Academy Awards.
Caron began her career as a ballerina. She made her film debut in the musical, An American in Paris (1951), followed by roles in The Man with a Cloak (1951), Glory Alley (1952), and The Story of Three Loves (1953), before her role of an orphan in Lili (also 1953), which earned her the BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actress and garnered nominations for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award.
As a leading lady, Caron starred in films such as The Glass Slipper (1955), Daddy Long Legs (1955), Gigi (1958), Fanny (1961), both of which earned her Golden Globe nominations, Guns of Darkness (1962), The L-Shaped Room (1962), Father Goose (1964), and A Very Special Favor (1965). For her role as a single pregnant woman in The L-Shaped Room, Caron, in addition to receiving a second Academy Award nomination, won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama and a second BAFTA Award.
Caron's other roles include Is Paris Burning? (1966), The Man Who Loved Women (1977), Valentino (1977), Damage (1992), Funny Bones (1995), Chocolat (2000), and Le Divorce (2003). In 2007, she won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for portraying a rape victim in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
Caron was born in Boulogne-sur-Seine, Seine (now Boulogne-Billancourt, Hauts-de-Seine), the daughter of Margaret (née Petit), a Franco-American dancer on Broadway, and Claude Caron, a French chemist, pharmacist, perfumer, and boutique owner. Claude Caron was the founder of the artisanal perfumier Guermantes. While her older brother Aimery Caron became a chemist like their father, Leslie was prepared for a performing career from childhood by her mother. The family lost its wealth during World War II, and could not provide a dowry for Caron. "My mother said: 'There's only one profession that leads you to marrying money and becoming a princess or duchess, and that’s ballet.' ... My grandfather whispered heavily: 'Margaret, you want your daughter to be a whore?' I heard it. This has always followed me".
Caron was initially a ballerina. Gene Kelly discovered her in the Roland Petit company "Ballet des Champs Elysées" and cast her to appear opposite him in the musical, An American in Paris (1951), a role for which a pregnant Cyd Charisse was originally cast. The prosperity, sunshine and abundance of California was a cultural shock to Caron. She had lived in Paris during the German occupation, which left her malnourished and anemic. She later remarked how nice people were in comparison to wartime Paris, in which poverty and deprivation had caused people to be bitter and violent. She had a friendly relationship with Kelly, who nicknamed her "Lester the Pester" and "kid". Kelly helped the inexperienced Caron—who had never spoken on stage—adjust to filmmaking..
Her role led to a seven-year MGM contract. The films which followed included the musical, The Glass Slipper (1955), and the drama, The Man with a Cloak (1951), with Joseph Cotten and Barbara Stanwyck. Still, Caron has said of herself: "Unfortunately, Hollywood considers musical dancers as hoofers. Regrettable expression." She also starred in the musicals Lili (1953, receiving an Academy Award for Best Actress nomination), with Mel Ferrer; Daddy Long Legs (1955), with Fred Astaire; and Gigi (1958) with Louis Jourdan and Maurice Chevalier.
Dissatisfied with her career despite her success ("I thought musicals were futile and silly", she said in 2021; "I appreciate them better now"), Caron studied the Stanislavski method. In the 1960s and thereafter, Caron worked in European films as well. For her performance in the British drama, The L-Shaped Room (1962), she won the BAFTA Award for Best British Actress and the Golden Globe, and was nominated for the Best Actress Oscar. Her other film assignments in this period included Father Goose (1964) with Cary Grant; Ken Russell's Valentino (1977), in the role of silent-screen legend Alla Nazimova; and Louis Malle's Damage (1992). Sometime in 1970, Caron was one of the many actresses considered for the lead role of Eglantine Price in Disney's Bedknobs and Broomsticks, losing the role to British actress Angela Lansbury.
Caron returned to France in the early 1970s, which she later said was a mistake. "They adore someone who's really British or really American", Caron said, "but somebody who’s French and has made it in Hollywood – and I was the only one who had really made it in a big way – they can't forgive". During the 1980s, she appeared in several episodes of the soap opera Falcon Crest as Nicole Sauguet. Caron is one of the few actresses from the classic era of MGM musicals who are still active in film — a group that includes Rita Moreno, Margaret O'Brien, and June Lockhart. Caron's later credits include Funny Bones (1995) with Jerry Lewis and Oliver Platt; The Last of the Blonde Bombshells (2000) with Judi Dench and Cleo Laine; Chocolat (2000) and Le Divorce (2003), directed by James Ivory, with Kate Hudson and Naomi Watts.
On 30 June 2003, Caron traveled to San Francisco to appear as the special guest star in The Songs of Alan Jay Lerner: I Remember It Well, a retrospective concert staged by San Francisco's 42nd Street Moon Company. In 2007, her guest appearance on Law and Order: Special Victims Unit earned her a Primetime Emmy Award. On 27 April 2009, Caron traveled to New York as an honored guest at a tribute to Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe at the Paley Center for Media.
For her contributions to the film industry, Caron was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame on 8 December 2009 with a motion pictures star located at 6153 Hollywood Boulevard. In February 2010, she played Madame Armfeldt in A Little Night Music at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, which also featured Greta Scacchi and Lambert Wilson.
Veteran documentarian Larry Weinstein's Leslie Caron: The Reluctant Star premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on 28 June 2016.
In September 1951, Caron married American George Hormel II, a grandson of the founder of the Hormel meat-packing company. They divorced in 1954.[page needed] During that period, while under contract to MGM, she lived in Laurel Canyon in a Normandie style 1927 mansion near the country store on Laurel Canyon Blvd. One bedroom was all mirrored for her dancing rehearsals.
Her second husband was British theatre director Peter Hall. They married in 1956 and had two children: Christopher John Hall in 1957, a television drama producer, and Jennifer Caron Hall, a writer, painter, and actress, in 1958. Her son-in-law, married to Jennifer, is Glenn Wilhide, the producer and screenwriter.
Caron had an affair with Warren Beatty in 1961. When she and Hall divorced in 1965, Beatty was named as a co-respondent and was ordered by the London court to pay the costs of the case. In 1969, Caron married Michael Laughlin, the producer of the film Two-Lane Blacktop; the couple divorced in 1980.
From June 1993 until September 2009, Caron owned and operated the hotel and restaurant, Auberge la Lucarne aux Chouettes (The Owls' Nest), in Villeneuve-sur-Yonne, about 130 km (80 mi) south of Paris. Caron's mother had committed suicide in her 60s; suffering from a lifetime of depression, Caron also considered doing so in 1995. She was hospitalized for a month, and began attending Alcoholics Anonymous. Unhappy with the lack of acting opportunities in France, she returned to England in 2013.
|1951||An American in Paris||Lise Bouvier|
|1951||The Man with a Cloak||Madeline Minot|
|1952||Glory Alley||Angela Evans|
|1953||The Story of Three Loves||Mademoiselle||Segment: "Mademoiselle"|
|1953||Lili||Lili Daurier||BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actress|
Nominated–Academy Award for Best Actress
|1955||The Glass Slipper||Ella|
|1955||Daddy Long Legs||Julie Andre|
|1958||Gigi||Gigi||Laurel Award for Top Female Musical Performance|
Nominated–Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical
|1958||The Doctor's Dilemma||Mrs. Dubedat|
|1959||The Man Who Understood Women||Ann Garantier|
|1960||Austerlitz||Mlle de Vaudey|
|1960||The Subterraneans||Mardou Fox|
|1961||Fanny||Fanny||Laurel Award for Top Female Dramatic Performance (5th place)|
Nominated–Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama
|1962||Guns of Darkness||Claire Jordan|
|1962||The L-Shaped Room||Jane Fosset||BAFTA Award for Best British Actress|
Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama
Laurel Award for Top Female Dramatic Performance (3rd place)
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress (2nd place)
Nominated–Academy Award for Best Actress
|1962||Three Fables of Love||Annie||Segment: "Les deux pigeons"|
|1965||A Very Special Favor||Dr. Lauren Boullard|
|1965||Promise Her Anything||Michele O'Brien|
|1966||Is Paris Burning?||Françoise Labé|
|1967||Il padre di famiglia||Paola, la moglie di Marco|
|1977||The Man Who Loved Women||Véra|
|1979||Goldengirl||Dr. Sammy Lee|
|1980||All Stars||Lucille Berger|
|1984||Dangerous Moves||Henia Liebskind|
|1990||Courage Mountain||Jane Hillary|
|1995||Funny Bones||Katie Parker|
|1995||Let It Be Me||Marguerite|
|1999||The Reef||Regine De Chantelle|
|2000||Chocolat||Madame Audel||Nominated–Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture|
|2003||Le Divorce||Suzanne de Persand|
|2017||The Perfect Age||Marguerite||short movie|
|2020||A Christmas Carol||The Ghost of Christmas Past (voice)|
|1959||ITV Play of the Week||Thérèse Tarde||Episode: "The Wild Bird"|
|1968||Off to See the Wizard||Ella||Episode: "Cinderella's Glass Slipper: Part 1"|
|1973||Carola||Carola Janssen||TV film|
|1974||QB VII||Angela Kelno||Miniseries|
|1978||Docteur Erika Werner||Erika Werner||TV series|
|1981||Mon meilleur Noël||La Nuit||Episode: "L'oiseau bleu"|
|1982||Tales of the Unexpected||Nathalie Vareille||Episode: "Run, Rabbit, Run"|
|1982||The Unapproachable||Klaudia||TV film|
|1983||Cinéma 16||Alice||Episode: "Le château faible"|
|1984||Master of the Game||Solange Dunas|
|1986||The Love Boat||Mrs. Duvall||Episode: "The Christmas Cruise"|
|1987||Falcon Crest||Nicole Sauget||3 episodes|
|1988||Lenin: The Train||Nadia||TV film|
|1988||The Man Who Lived at the Ritz||Coco Chanel||TV film|
|1994||Normandy: The Great Crusade||Osmont, Mary-Louise (voice)|
|1996||The Ring||Madame de Saint Marne|
|1996||The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century||Czarina Aleksandra Romanov (voice)||3 episodes|
|2000||The Last of the Blonde Bombshells||Madeleine||TV film|
|2001||Murder on the Orient Express||Sra. Alvarado|
|2006||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Lorraine Delmas||Episode: "Recall"|
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series
|2013||Jo||Josette Lenoir||Episode: "Le Marais"|
|2016–2018||The Durrells||Countess Mavrodaki||6 episodes|
- 1955: Orvet, by Jean Renoir, director Jean Renoir, Théâtre de la Renaissance, Paris
- 1955: Gigi, by Anita Loos, director Sir Peter Hall, New Theatre, London
- 1961: Ondine, by Jean Giraudoux, director Peter Hall, Aldwych Theatre, London. The second act of this Royal Shakespeare Company production was broadcast on BBC Television on 11 April 1961.
- 1965: Carola, by Jean Renoir, director Norman Lloyd, PBS TV, Los Angeles
- 1975–1981: 13, rue de l'amour (Monsieur Chasse), by Georges Feydeau, director Basil Langton, US and Australia
- 1978: Can-Can, musical by Cole Porter & Abe Burrows, director John Bishop, US and Canadian tour
- 1983: The rehearsal by Jean Anouilh, director Gillian Lynne, English tour
- 1984: On your toes by Rodgers and Hart, director George Abbott, US tour
- 1985: One for the Tango (Apprends-moi Céline) by Maria Pacôme, director Pierre Epstein, US tour
- 1985: L'inaccessible, author and director Krzysztof Zanussi, Théâtre du Petit Odéon of Paris and Spoletto Festival, Italy
- 1991: Grand hotel, adaptation from the novel of Vicki Baum, director Tommy Tune, Berlin
- 1991: Le martyre de Saint Sebastien by Claude Debussy and Gabriele d'Annunzio, narration, directed by Michael Tilson Thomas, London Symphony Orchestra
- 1995: Georges Sand et Chopin, author Bruno Villien, Greenwich Festival, Great Britain
- 1997: Nocturne for lovers, adaptation Gavin Lambert, director Kado Kostzer, Chichester Festival Theatre, Great Britain
- 1997: The story of Babar, by Jean de Brunhoff, narration, music from Francis Poulenc, Chichester Festival, Great Britain
- 1998: Apprends-moi Céline, by Maria Pacôme, director Raymond Acquaviva, French tour
- 1999: Readings from Colette, director Roger Hodgeman, Melbourne Festival, Australia
- 1999: Nocturne for lovers, director Roger Hodgeman, Melbourne Festival, Australia
- 2006: I Remember It Well Special Guest Artist in a retrospective tribute to Lyricist Alan Jay Lerner (and his music), 42nd Street Moon Theatre Company, Herbst Theater, San Francisco
- 2009: Thank Heaven – 'platform' at the Théâtre National of London
- 2009: A Little Night Music by Stephen Sondheim, director Lee Blakeley, Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris
- 2014: Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks by Richard Alfieri, director Michael Arabian, Laguna Playhouse, Laguna Beach, California
- The Lover (l'Amant) by Marguerite Duras on cassettes
- First World War for the radio
- Le Martyre de Saint Sébastien by Claude Debussy and Gabriele d'Annunzio, with the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Michael Tilson Thomas
- Gigi by Colette in English on cassettes recorded in public at Merkin Concert Hall at Abraham Goodman House in New York City, 1996
- Narrated "Carnival of the Animals" music by Camille St Saëns with the Nash Ensemble – Wigmore Hall, 1999
- The Plutocrats play for the BBC dir. Bill Bryden, written by Michael Hastings, from the novel by Booth Tarkington, January 1999
- Caron, Leslie: Vengeance. Doubleday, 1982. ISBN 9780385178969
- Caron, Leslie: Thank Heaven: A Memoir. Viking Adult, 2009. ISBN 9780670021345
- Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur by President François Mitterrand in June 1993
- Ordre National du Mérite, by Catherine Trautmann, Minister of Culture, in February 1998
- Officier de la Légion d'Honneur, given by Prime Minister Jean Pierre Raffarin in June 2004
- Medaille D'Or De La Ville De Paris in 2012
- Commandeur de la Légion d'honneur in March 2013
- J F Kennedy Gold Medal in the Arts in 2015
- Kisselgoff, Anna (12 March 1995). "DANCE; The Ballerina in Leslie Caron The Actress". The New York Times.
- Perfume Intelligence: Guermantes
- "Leslie Caron Biography". Fandango. Retrieved 1 February 2019.
- Hattenstone, Simon (21 June 2021). "'I am very shy. It's amazing I became a movie star': Leslie Caron at 90 on love, art and addiction". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 June 2021.
- "Leslie Caron: Dancing From WWII Paris To Hollywood". NPR. Retrieved 10 April 2021.
- Matthew Kennedy Thank Heaven: A Memoir, by Leslie Caron Archived 16 June 2013 at archive.today, Brightlights.com, issue 67, February 2010
- "5th Moscow International Film Festival (1967)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 16 January 2013. Retrieved 9 December 2012.
- "Berlinale: 1989 Juries". Berlinale. Retrieved 9 March 2011.
- "The Musicals of Lerner & Loewe: An Evening of Song and Television". The Paley Center for Media. 27 April 2009. Archived from the original on 28 June 2009.
- "Hollywood Walk of Fame – Leslie Caron". walkoffame.com. Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. Archived from the original on 3 April 2016. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
- "Leslie Caron Receives Walk of Fame Star". CBS 2 / KCAL 9. Los Angeles. 8 December 2009. Archived from the original on 11 December 2009.
- TIFF Cinematheque Special Screenings: Summer 2016 » Leslie Caron: The Reluctant Star, 28 June 2016, archived from the original on 19 June 2016, retrieved 31 May 2016
- Mower County History Committee (1984). Mill on the Willow: A History of Mower County, Minnesota. Lake Mills, Iowa: Graphic Pub. Co. LCCN 84-062356. OCLC 13009348.
- Rich, Frank (3 July 1978). "Warren Beatty Strikes Again". Time. Archived from the original on 14 November 2007.
- "Leslie Caron". TCM Movie Database. Archived from the original on 26 February 2009. Retrieved 11 November 2008.
- "French inn: Her latest stage". Los Angeles Times. 15 October 2006. Archived from the original on 6 November 2007.
- Caron, Leslie (25 November 2009). Thank Heaven: A Memoir. New York: Viking Adult.
- "Ondine". BBC Genome. Retrieved 21 June 2021.
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