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Marie Laforêt

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Marie Laforêt
Marie Laforêt
Marie Laforêt in 1985
Maïtena Marie Brigitte Doumenach

(1939-10-05)5 October 1939
Soulac-sur-Mer, Gironde, France
Died2 November 2019(2019-11-02) (aged 80)
Genolier, Switzerland
  • Swiss
  • French
  • Singer, actress
Spouse(s)Jean-Gabriel Albicocco (divorced)
Eric de Lavandeyra (1984-1995, divorced)
PartnerJudas Azuelos
Children3 (including Lisa Azuelos)

Marie Laforêt (born Maïtena Marie Brigitte Douménach; 5 October 1939 – 2 November 2019[1]) was a French singer and actress, particularly well known for her work during the 1960s and 1970s.[2] In 1978, she moved to Geneva, and acquired Swiss citizenship.

Birth name[edit]

Her first name Maïtena, which is of Basque origin, means "beloved" and is sometimes used by the inhabitants of Languedoc, especially in the Pyrénées.[3]

Douménach, her last name, is Catalan in origin – Domènec in Catalan.[4] Her birth name and her repertoire, which included pieces inspired from world folklore, have led to speculation of an Armenian origin of her parents.[citation needed] The singer herself used to define herself sometimes as "ariégeoise", i.e. from the region of Ariège in the south of France.[5]

Early life and education[edit]

Marie Laforêt was born on 5 October 1939 at Soulac-sur-Mer, in the Médoc region of France, to Jean Doumenach and Marie-Louise (née Saint Guily). Her father's family were originally from Olette, a village in the Pyrénées Orientales on the border of Têt. Her father was an industrialist and served in the military in World War II.[6] Her paternal great-grandfather, Louis Doumenach, headed a textile factory at Lavelanet in Ariège and her uncle, Charles-Joseph Doumenach, was a colonel and municipal counsellor. During the Second World War, Laforêt's father was a prisoner of war in Germany until the end of the war. At the age of three Laforêt suffered a sexual trauma which affected her for a long time.[7] During the war, the Doumenachs found shelter at Cahors and in Lavelanet. After the war, the family moved to Valenciennes where the father led a factory for railway utensils. Later they settled in Paris.[5][8] After becoming more religious and having considered becoming a nun, Laforêt continued her secondary studies at the Lycee La Fontaine and Cours Raymond Rouleau in Paris. There she began to show interest for the dramatic arts and her first experiences in this domain proved to be therapeutically useful for her through their cathartic effect.



Alain Delon (as Tom Ripley) and Marie Laforêt (as Marge Duval) on the terrace of a café in Italy, during the shooting of the film Purple Noon by René Clément, in August 1959.

Her career began accidentally in 1959 when she replaced her sister at the last minute in the French radio talent contest Naissance d'une étoile (Birth of A Star) and won.[9] Noticed then by Raymond Rouleau, she attended his theater classes as Director Louis Malle cast the young starlet in Liberté, the film he was shooting at the time but which he finally abandoned. Therefore, Laforêt first notably appeared onscreen opposite actor Alain Delon in René Clément's 1960 drama Plein Soleil.

After this opportunities came to her rapidly. The original soundtrack of her second film, 1961's Saint Tropez Blues, where she sang the title song accompanied by her childhood friend Jacques Higelin at the guitar was released in 1960. Her first musical hit was 1963's Les Vendanges de l'Amour.[10]

In 1961 her new husband, director Jean-Gabriel Albicocco, cast her in La Fille aux Yeux d'Or (The Girl with the Golden Eyes) based on the Balzac story, the source of her nickname,[9] and in 1963 cast her Le Rat d'Amérique, based on the Jacques Lanzmann 1956 novel of the same name.


By the end of the 1960s Laforêt had become a rather distinctive figure in the French pop scene. Her songs offered a more mature, poetic, tender alternative to the light, teenage yé-yé tunes charting in France at the time. Her melodies borrowed more from exotic folk music, especially South American and Eastern European, than from contemporary American and British pop acts. Her music stood out, perhaps too much for her new label CBS Records, which favored upbeat, simple songs. She was interested in making more personal records but finally gave in. Although her most financially successful singles ("Viens, Viens", a cover of the German hit ″Rain Rain Rain″, and "Il a neigé sur Yesterday", a ballad about the break-up of the Beatles) were released in the 1970s,[10] Laforêt progressively lost interest in her singing career, moving to Geneva, Switzerland in 1978 where she opened an art gallery and abandoned music for the time being. Laforêt had worked with many important French composers, musicians and lyricists, such as André Popp and Pierre Cour, who provided her with a panoply of colorful, sophisticated orchestral arrangements, featuring dozens of musical instruments and creating a variety of sounds, sometimes almost Medieval, Renaissance or Baroque, other times quite modern and innovative.

1980 to 2019[edit]

In the 1980s, Laforêt concentrated on her acting career, appearing in a few French and Italian films. Some music singles were eventually released, but were not popular. She made a comeback however in 1993 with her final album, for which she wrote the lyrics. In the 1990s she again continued to work as an actress both on screen and on stage. She performed in a number of plays in Paris over the years, acclaimed by audiences and critics alike. In September 2005, she sang once again, touring in France for the first time since 1972. Every concert sold out. Laforêt resided in Geneva and obtained Swiss citizenship.[11]

LaForêt and Jean-Gabriel Albicocco present La Fille Au Yeux D'Or at the Venice Festiva, 1961.

Personal life[edit]

Laforêt married director Jean-Gabriel Albicoco on 9 November 1961, and the couple divorced, childless, in 1963. She next was romantically linked with Judas Azuelos beginning in 1965, the same year their daughter Élise (Lisa) was born. Lisa Azuelos would later become a French director, writer, and producer who made a film about another famous French singer, Dalida, in 2016. Lisa's brother Jean-Mehdi was born in 1967, the year their parents parted ways. LaForêt next married Alain Kahn-Sriber in 1971 and her third child, Eve-Marie-Deborah, was born in 1974. The couple divorced two years later. After being disillusioned by the music industry at the time, Laforêt moved to Switzerland where she was married to Swiss doctor Pierre Meyer in 1981 for a year. On 7 September 1990, she married Eric de Lavandeyra, a stockbroker, for two years.[citation needed] This last marriage ended in a publicly contentious divorce.[12]


Marie Laforêt died on 2 November 2019 in Genolier, Switzerland, a small town in the Nyon district near Geneva, from the consequences of a primary bone cancer.[13] She was 80 years old. Her funeral took place in Paris, at the church on Saint-Eustache, on 24 November; followed by the burial in the family crypt at the Père-Lachaise Cemetery.[1]


Folk music[edit]

Laforêt helped popularize the Bob Dylan song "Blowin' in the Wind in France with her 1963 interpretation. The B-side of the same EP covered the 1964 Animals version of the folk ballad House of the Rising Sun. Her other folk recordings include: Viens sur la montagne,[10] a 1964 French adaptation of the African-American spiritual Go Tell It on the Mountain recorded by American folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary the previous year; Coule doux (Hush-a-Bye), another Peter, Paul and Mary song; 1966's Sur les chemins des Andes, a French version of the traditional Peruvian El Cóndor Pasa; and La voix du silence, a 1966 cover of American duo Simon and Garfunkel's "The Sound of Silence".

Rock music[edit]

She also recorded some rock songs in the 1960s, her most famous being Marie-douceur, Marie-colère, a 1966 cover of the Rolling Stones hit Paint It Black. Another popular recording was 1965's girl group-style A demain, my darling, known by English-speakers as The Sha La La Song written by Marianne Faithfull on her debut eponymous album.

Pop music[edit]

Some of her most memorable pop songs are those written or arranged by French composer André Popp, such as Entre toi et moi, L'amour en fleurs, Les noces de campagne, Mon amour, mon ami, and Manchester et Liverpool. The melody of the latter song gained fame in the former Soviet Union as the background music to the Vremya television news programme's weather forecast in the 1970s.[14]

Other music[edit]

The quiet, bittersweet and minimally arranged ballad Je voudrais tant que tu comprennes (1966), composed by Francis Lai, is Laforêt's favorite. Homage was paid to the song in the 1980s, when French pop superstar Mylène Farmer added it to her own concert repertoire.

The 1973 hit "Viens, viens" was a cover version of a German song "Rain, Rain, Rain" performed by Simon Butterfly.

Laforêt's 1977 hit "Il a neigé sur Yesterday", perhaps her most well-known recording, was penned by musician Jean-Claude Petit, and lyricist Michel Jourdan, (famous for his work with Dalida, Nana Mouskouri, Michel Fugain and Mike Brant) and who had written the words for earlier Laforêt songs, such as "Les vendanges de l'amour" and "L'orage".

Dramatic roles[edit]


Year Title Author Director Venue Note
1969 La Hobereaute Jacques Audiberti Georges Vitaly Hôtel de Béthune-Sully Performed as part of the Festival du Marais
1973 Partage de midi Paul Claudel G. H. Régnier Bourges theater Role: Isé
1992 L'Écorce bleue Marguerite Yourcenar None Open Air theater A reading done as part of the Carpentras Festival
1997 Vietnam Marguerite Duras None Saint-Florent-le-Vieil festival A reading accompanied by the Ca Tru Thai Ha ensemble from Hanoi
Master Class Terrence McNally Roman Polanski Théâtre de la Porte-Saint-Martin Role: Maria Callas
1999 Master Class Terrence McNally  Didier Long Antoine theater Role: Maria Callas
2000 Master Class Terrence McNally Opéra-Comique command performances, 18 and 30 April 2000
2003 La presse est unanime Laurent Ruquier Agnès Boury Théâtre des Variétés
2004 Jésus-la-Caille Francis Carco Jacques Darcy Espace Cardin
2008 Master Class Terrence McNally  Didier Long Théâtre de Paris Role: Marie Callas
2009 L'Hirondelle inattendue Simon Laks Théâtre Toursky, Forbidden Music Festival, Marseille Role: Reciter


Year Title Role Director Notes
1960 Plein Soleil Marge Duval René Clément [15][16]
1961 Saint-Tropez Blues [fr] Anne-Marie Marcel Moussy
The Girl with the Golden Eyes the girl Jean-Gabriel Albicocco (segment "Les comédiennes")
Les Amours célèbres Madame Georges Michel Boisrond
1962 Leviathan [fr] Angèle Léonard Keigel [fr]
1963 À cause, à cause d'une femme Agathe Michel Deville
Le Rat d'Amérique Maria Jean-Gabriel Albicocco
1964 Cherchez l'idole Michel Boisrond Uncredited
Male Hunt Gisèle Édouard Molinaro
1965 Cent briques et des tuiles Ida Pierre Grimblat [fr]
The Camp Followers Eftikia Valerio Zurlini
Marie-Chantal contre le docteur Kha Marie-Chantal Claude Chabrol
1967 Le Treizième Caprice [fr] Fanny Roger Boussinot [fr]
Jack of Diamonds Olga Vodkine Don Taylor
1972 Le Petit Poucet [fr] (Tom Thumb) the queen Michel Boisrond
1979 Flic ou voyou[17] Edmonde Puget-Rostand Georges Lautner
1982 Les Diplômés du dernier rang [fr] Dominique Christian Gion
fr:Que les gros salaires lèvent le doigt ! Rose, Joeuf's wife Denys Granier-Deferre Uncredited
1984 Les Morfalous Hélène Laroche-Fréon Henri Verneuil
Joyeuses Pâques Sophie Margelle Georges Lautner
1985 Le Pactole [fr] Greta Rousselet Jean-Pierre Mocky
Tangos, the Exile of Gardel Mariana Fernando Solanas
1987 Sale destin Marthe Marboni Sylvain Madigan
Fucking Fernand [fr] Lotte Gérard Mordillat [fr]
Il est génial papy ! [fr] Louise Michel Drach
1989 La folle journée ou Le mariage de Figaro La comtesse Roger Coggio
1990 The Miser Contessa Isabella Spinosi Tonino Cervi
Présumé dangereux Thea Georges Lautner
Una fredda mattina di maggio Vittorio Sindoni
1992 Who Wants to Kill Sara? Sara's mother Gianpaolo Tescari [it]
1995 Ainsi soient-elles Mère de Marie Patrick Alessandrin and Lisa Azuelos
Dis-moi oui... Mme Villiers Alexandre Arcady
1996 Tykho Moon Éva Enki Bilal
1997 Desert of Fire Rama Enzo G. Castellari 3 episodes
Héroïnes Sylvie Gérard Krawczyk
Love, Math and Sex Pétra la vérité / Theatre Actress in red dress Charlotte Silvera
2000 Jeux pour mourir Bruno Romy
2008 Les Bureaux de Dieu [fr] Martine Claire Simon


Year Title Role Director Genre
1961 Le Rouge et le Noir Mathile De La Mole Pierre Cardinal Television movie
1965 La redevance du fantôme Miss Diamond Robert Enrico Television movie
1972 Kean: Un roi de théâtre Comtesse Elena de Kloefeld Marcel Moussy Television movie
1984 Emmenez-moi au théâtre Pauline André Flédérick Television series
1987 La Mafia 3 (La Piovra 3) Anna Antinari Luigi Perelli Television series
1988 Le loufiat la star Michel Boisrond Television miniseries
1989 Isabella la ladra (original title: La Bugiarda) Elvira Franco Giraldi Television miniseries
1990 L'affaire Rodani (Quattro piccole donne) la mère des quatre filles Gianfranco Albano Television series
1992 Un cane sciolto 3 Hélène Giorgio Capitani Television movie
1994 A che punto è la notte? Chantal Guidi Nanni Loy Television movie
1995 Adrien Le Sage: Ma fille est impossible Comtesse de Pontigny Jacques Monnet Television movie
1996 L'histoire du Samedi Françoise Bernard Uzan Television series
1997 Le Désert de feu (Desierte di fuoco) Rahma Enzo G. Castellari Television movie
1998 Jeudi 12 Françoise Gamelin Patrick Vidal Television series
1998 Villa Vanille Pronia Jean Sagols Television movie


Studio Albums

  • 1964 : Viens sur la montagne
  • 1965 : La Fleur sans nom
  • 1967 : Manchester et Liverpool
  • 1968 : Le Lit de Lola
  • 1968 : Que calor la vida
  • 1969 : Le Vin de l'été
  • 1970 : Portrait
  • 1972 : Ay tu me plais
  • 1973 : Pourquoi les Hommes pleurent ?
  • 1974 : Noé
  • 1976 : La Vérité
  • 1977 : Il reviendra
  • 1979 : Moi je voyage
  • 1993 : Reconnaissances (Une Musique)

Live Albums

  • 1970 : Récital
  • 1998 : Voyage au long cours

Spanish Albums

  • 1964 : Y Volvamos al Amor
  • 1965 : Entre Tú y Yo
  • 1968 : Qué Calor la Vida
  • 1969 : Mon amour, mon ami

Italian Albums

  • 1964 : La Cantante Dagli Occhi d'Oro

Portuguese Albums

  • 1967 : Sôbre a Montanha

1960s singles and EPs

  • 1960 : Saint-Tropez Blues / Tumbleweed
  • 1963 : Tu fais semblant – Les vendanges de l'amour / Mary Ann – Les jeunes filles
  • 1963 : Blowin' in the WindFlora / House of the Rising Sun – Banks on the Ohio
  • 1963 : Au coeur de l'automne – L'amour en fleurs / Qu'est-ce qui fait pleurer les filles – Mais si loin de moi
  • 1963 : La vendemmia dell'amore – E giusto / Una noia senza fine – Che male c'e
  • 1964 : Viens sur la montagne – Les noces de campagne / Un amour qui s'éteint – L'amour qu'il fera demain
  • 1964 : La tendresse – La plage / Après toi qui sait – L'arbre qui pleure[18]
  • 1965 : Katy cruelle – Entre toi et moi / La bague au doigt – Ma chanson faite pour toi
  • 1965 : Ah ! Dites, dites – Julie Crèvecoeur / Viens – À demain my darling
  • 1965 : La plage / Après toi, qui sait
  • 1966 : La voix du silence (The Sound of Silence) – Siffle, siffle ma fille / Je t'attends – L'orage
  • 1966 : Marie-douceur, Marie-colère (Paint It Black) – Toi qui dors / Je voudrais tant que tu comprennes – La moisson[10]
  • 1966 : Manchester et Liverpool – Pourquoi ces nuages / Prenons le temps – Sur les chemins des Andes
  • 1966 : Mon amour, mon ami – Sébastien / Je suis folle de vous – Mon village au fond de l'eau
  • 1967 : Ivan, Boris et moi – Je ne peux rien promettre / Pour celui qui viendra – Tom[10]
  • 1968 : Le lit de Lola – Qu'y-a-t-il de changé / Et si je t'aime – A la gare de Manhattan
  • 1968 : El polo – L'air que tu jouais pour moi / Le tengo rabia al silencio – House of the rising sun
  • 1968 : Que calor la vida – Mais mon coeur est vide / La valse des petits chiens blancs – Requiem pour trois mariages
  • 1969 : Au printemps – Roselyne / Feuilles d'or – D'être à vous
  • 1969 : Pour une étoile – Ton coeur sauvage / Vin de l'été – En plus de l'amour
  • 1969 : Ah ! Si mon moine – On n'oublie jamais / Tourne, tourne – La fleur sans nom
  • 1969 : Tu es laide / Toi, nos enfants et moi

1960s LPs

  • 1964 : Marie Laforêt
  • 1965 : Marie Laforêt Vol. 2
  • 1967 : Marie Laforêt Vol. 3
  • 1968 : Marie Laforêt Vol. 4
  • 1968 : Que calor la vida
  • 1969 : Marie Laforêt Vol. 6
  • 1970 : Marie Laforêt Vol. 7


  • 1981 : Contes et légendes de ma vie privée (ISBN 978-2-234-01349-0)
  • 2001 : Mes petites magies, livre de recettes pour devenir jeune (ISBN 978-2-84098-648-5)
  • 2008 : Sous le pseudonyme d'Erna Huili-Collins. Ouvrage collectif Correspondances intempestives : à la folie... pas du tout, Triartis
  • 2020 : Nous n'avons pas d'autre choix que de croire (ISBN 978-2-7499-4478-4)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Marie Laforêt, la " Fille aux yeux d'or ", est morte". Le Monde.fr. 3 November 2019. Retrieved 4 September 2021 – via Le Monde.
  2. ^ "Marie Laforêt et ses mille vies". LEFIGARO (in French). 3 November 2019. Retrieved 6 April 2022.
  3. ^ "a statistics of the name Maitena". Aufeminin.com. 15 September 2006. Retrieved 1 November 2011.
  4. ^ "Origine du nom "DOUMENACH"". Geneanet. 8 November 2023. Archived from the original on 26 August 2016. Retrieved 7 November 2023.
  5. ^ a b "in an interview for VSD". Vsd.fr. Archived from the original on 29 September 2011. Retrieved 1 November 2011.
  6. ^ "Biographie Marie Laforêt". Who's Who in France. 8 November 2023. Archived from the original on 30 July 2020. Retrieved 8 November 2023.
  7. ^ Fourny, Marc (3 November 2019). "Marie Laforêt, la " Fille aux yeux d'or ", est morte". Le Point (in French). Retrieved 6 April 2022.
  8. ^ "FAMILLE". 16 November 2010. Archived from the original on 16 November 2010. Retrieved 4 September 2021.
  9. ^ a b "Marie Laforêt, la " Fille aux yeux d'or ", est morte". Le Monde.fr (in French). 3 November 2019. Retrieved 6 April 2022.
  10. ^ a b c d e "Les 6 chansons qui ont marqué la carrière de Marie Laforêt". Le Monde.fr (in French). 3 November 2019. Retrieved 6 April 2022.
  11. ^ "Marie Laforêt, French singer and actress 'with the golden eyes,' dies at 80". The Washington Post. 3 November 2019. Retrieved 4 September 2021.
  12. ^ "Marie Laforêt maintient tout contre son ex-mari". Le Temps. 2 April 2004. Archived from the original on 8 November 2019. Retrieved 8 November 2023.
  13. ^ Prisma Média (22 October 2020). "Marie Laforêt : sa fille révèle les causes de sa mort - Gala". Gala.fr. Retrieved 4 September 2021.
  14. ^ "accessed 20 October 2010". 10 July 2010. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021. Retrieved 1 November 2011 – via YouTube.
  15. ^ "Purple Noon (1960)". IMDb. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  16. ^ "Marie Laforêt, boudeuse solaire". Le Monde.fr (in French). 5 May 2015. Retrieved 6 April 2022.
  17. ^ "Décès de Marie LAFORET". Ëlysëe.fr. 5 November 2019. Archived from the original on 17 January 2021. Retrieved 8 November 2023.
  18. ^ "Les grandes chansons et les films de Marie Laforêt". LEFIGARO (in French). 3 November 2019. Retrieved 6 April 2022.

Additional sources[edit]

  • Pierre Fageolle & Egon Kragel, Marie Laforêt, éd. ... Car rien n'a d'importance, 1994
  • Pierre Saka, Yann Plougastel (dir.), La Chanson française et francophone, at the Internet Archive, Guide Totem, Larousse/HER, 1999 (ISBN 2-03-511346-62-03-511346-6)
  • Alain Wodrascka, Marie Laforêt - La femme aux cent visages, éd. L'Étoile du Sud, 1999
  • Alain Wodrascka, Marie Laforêt - Portrait d'une star libre, éd. Didier Carpentier, 2009 (ISBN 978-2-84167-612-5)
  • Alain Wodrascka, Marie Laforêt - long courrier vers l'aurore, Mustang éditions, préface de Nilda Fernandez, 2014

External links[edit]