Marie Laforêt

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Marie Laforêt
Marie Laforêt
Marie Laforêt in 1994
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 Doumenach; 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 of Pyrénées[3] and also resembles the diminutive of the name Marie-Thérèse, "Maïthé".[citation needed]

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


Childhood and adolescence[edit]

Marie Laforêt was born at Soulac-sur-Mer, in Médoc, in the villa "Rithé-Rilou", named after her aunt and her mother: Marie Thérèse and Marie Louise Saint Guily. Her father's family, Doumenach, were originally from Olette, a village in the Pyrénées Orientales, on the border of Têt. Her paternal great-grandfather, Louis Doumenach, led a textile factory at Lavelanet, in Ariège and his son, Charles-Joseph Doumenach, was a colonel and municipal counsellor.

The singer's maternal grandfather built "cabanons" in the resort of Soulac-Sur-Mer, in Gironde in 1886.[5][6] During the Second World War, the artist's father, an industry man, was captured and detained as a prisoner of war in Germany until the liberation in May 1945. Laforêt, her sister Alexandra and their mother knew a period of many hardships. 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 the province of their ancestors Ariège, in the village Lavelanet. After the war, the family moved to Valenciennes where the father led a factory for railway utensils. Later they settled in Paris.[6][8] After becoming more religious and having considered becoming a nun, Laforêt continued her secondary studies at the Lycee La Fontaine 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.


Her career began accidentally in 1959 when she replaced her sister at the last minute in a French radio talent contest Naissance d'une étoile (birth of a star) and won.[9] Director Louis Malle then cast the young starlet in the film he was shooting at the time, Liberté, a project he finally abandoned, making Laforêt's first appearance on screen her turn opposite actor Alain Delon in René Clément's 1960 drama Plein Soleil.

After this film she became very popular and interpreted many roles in the 1960s. She married director Jean-Gabriel Albicocco, who cast her in some of his own works, including La Fille aux Yeux d'Or (The Girl with the Golden Eyes), based on the Balzac story, which would become her nickname.[9]

In her second film, Saint Tropez Blues, accompanied by a young Jacques Higelin at the guitar, she sang the title song and immediately started releasing singles, her first hit being 1963's Les Vendanges de l'Amour.[10] 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. Laforêt 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.

With businessman Judas Azuelos, a Moroccan Jew of Sephardic descent, she had two children, a daughter and a son. The daughter, Lisa Azuelos, is a French director, writer, and producer, who made a film about another famous French singer, Dalida, in 2017.


At the end of the 1960s, Laforêt had become a rather distinctive figure in the French pop scene. Her music stood out, perhaps too much for her new label CBS Records, which expected of her more upbeat, simpler 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.

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, going on tour in France for the first time since 1972. Every concert was sold out. Laforêt resided in Geneva and obtained Swiss citizenship.[11]


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 as revealed by one of her daughters, Deborah Kahn-Sriber in 2020.[12] 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 was fond of folk music ever since she began recording in the early 1960s. She helped popularize the Bob Dylan song "Blowin' in the Wind" in France with her 1963 interpretation. On the B-side of the same EP she sings the classic American 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 song "El Cóndor Pasa", and "La voix du silence", a 1966 cover of American duo Simon and Garfunkel's first hit, "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.[13]

Other music[edit]

The quiet, bittersweet and minimally arranged ballad "Je voudrais tant que tu comprennes" (1966), composed by Francis Lai, is a Marie Laforêt 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".



Year Title Role Director Notes
1960 Purple Noon (original title: Plein Soleil) Marge Duval René Clément [14][15]
1961 Saint-Tropez Blues [fr] Anne-Marie Marcel Moussy
The Girl with the Golden Eyes the girl Jean-Gabriel Albicocco (segment "Les comédiennes")
Famous Love Affairs Madame Georges Michel Boisrond
1962 Leviathan [fr] Angèle Léonard Keigel [fr]
1963 À cause, à cause d'une femme Agathe Michel Deville
Rat Trap 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 Cop or Hood Edmonde Puget-Rostand Georges Lautner
1982 Les Diplômés du dernier rang [fr] Dominique Christian Gion
Que les gros salaires lèvent le doigt ! Rose, Joeuf's wife Denys Granier-Deferre Uncredited
1984 Les Morfalous Hélène Laroche-Fréon Henri Verneuil
Happy Easter 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 [fr]

Television Movies

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


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[16]
  • 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)
  • 2002 : Panier de crabes : les vrais maîtres du monde (ISBN 978-2-84098-829-8)
  • 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". 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". 15 September 2006. Retrieved 1 November 2011.
  4. ^ "in an interview for VSD". Archived from the original on 29 September 2011. Retrieved 1 November 2011.
  5. ^ R. Zebulun a book about Soulac
  6. ^ a b "interview for VSD". Archived from the original on 29 September 2011. Retrieved 1 November 2011.
  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 (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 (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. ^ Prisma Média. "Marie Laforêt : sa fille révèle les causes de sa mort - Gala". Retrieved 4 September 2021.
  13. ^ "accessed 20 October 2010". 10 July 2010. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021. Retrieved 1 November 2011 – via YouTube.
  14. ^ "Purple Noon (1960)". IMDb. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  15. ^ "Marie Laforêt, boudeuse solaire". Le (in French). 5 May 2015. Retrieved 6 April 2022.
  16. ^ "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, 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]