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3 December 1957|
Boulogne-Billancourt, Hauts-de-Seine, France
|Died||19 March 1989
Saint-Ouen-des-Champs, Eure, Haute-Normandie, France
|Cause of death||Car accident|
Valérie Quennessen was born in Boulogne-Billancourt, near Paris and dedicated much of her childhood to pursuing her dream of becoming an acrobat. She quickly reached a level of competence and received an award for her expertise at the age of ten. By her teens, she had given up acrobatics and enrolled in acting classes, not because she particularly wanted to get into show business, but to help her overcome social anxiety. She found that she not only overcame her shyness via acting, but she also enjoyed performing. She studied drama first briefly at the École nationale supérieure des arts et techniques du théâtre, then at the Conservatoire National d'Art Dramatique, in Paris, from 1976 to 1979, and appeared in several theater productions, notably Chers Zoiseaux, by Jean Anouilh, which premiered in 1976, and Pirandello's Nuova colonia (1977).
She made her first film appearances in a pair of 1976 French films: Le Petit Marcel and Le Plein de super. Although she would continue to appear in the occasional French film and television show, in 1979 she landed one of the main roles in the American film French Postcards (Willard Huyck), working alongside the yet-to-be famous Miles Chapin, Debra Winger and Mandy Patinkin. She followed up that film by playing Princess Yasimina in John Milius's 1982 film Conan the Barbarian with Arnold Schwarzenegger in the title role.
It would be her next film, Randal Kleiser's Summer Lovers, that was the peak of her career for American audiences. This story of a love triangle on the Greek island of Santorini also starred Peter Gallagher and Daryl Hannah. During the filming of the movie, in which she played Lina, an archaeologist, Valérie is said to have discovered several pieces of pottery at the Akrotiri site that were more than 3,500 years old.
Shortly after Summer Lovers, Valérie Quennessen appeared in the short We Cannes, filmed during the 1982 film festival by François Manceaux, then gradually retired from acting, choosing to concentrate on raising her family. She and Francois Manceaux had two children, Antoine and Elsa. On March 19, 1989 she died in a car accident on the A13 highway at the age of 31.
- Le Petit Marcel (Jacques Fansten, 1976) as a receptionist
- Le Plein de super (Alain Cavalier, 1976) as Marie
- Nuova colonia (Anne Delbée, 1978, TV adaptation) as Mita
- La Tortue sur le dos (Luc Béraud, 1978) as a Nietzsche student
- Brigade des mineurs: Tête de rivière (Guy Lessertisseur,1978 - TV episode) as Doris
- On efface tout (Pascal Vidal, 1978)
- Martin et Léa (Alain Cavalier, 1979) as Cléo
- French Postcards (Willard Huyck, 1979) as Toni
- Pause-café (Serge Leroy, 1981 - TV mini-series, 1 episode) as a secretary
- Silas (Sigi Rothemund, 1981 - German TV mini-series, 1 episode) as Melinda, a washerwoman
- Les Uns et les Autres (Claude Lelouch), 1981) as Francis Huster's character girlfriend
- Les Uns et les Autres (Claude Lelouch, 1981 - TV mini-series)
- Conan the Barbarian (John Milius, 1982) as Princess Yasimina
- Summer Lovers (Randal Kleiser, 1982) as Lina
- We Cannes (François Manceaux, 1982 short) as Janine
- Quartier sud (Mathias Ledoux, 1984 - TV) as Rebecca
- La petite commission (Jean-Paul Salomé, 1985 short) as Sister Clarisse
- Mode in France (William Klein, 1985 - TV) as a model/female cop
- Haute tension: Eaux troubles (Alain Bonnot, 1989 - TV episode) as Judith
- Bajazet, by Jean Racine, (director Stéphan Boublil, Studio d'Ivry, 1976)
- Phèdre, by Jean Racine, (Antoine Bourseiller, Théâtre Récamier, 1976) as Ismène
- Chers Zoiseaux, by Jean Anouilh, (Jean Anouilh and Roland Piétri, Comédie des Champs-Élysées, 1976) as one of the 'Girls'
- Nuova colonia, by Luigi Pirandello, (Anne Delbée, Nouveau Carré Silvia Montfort, 1977) as Mita
- Babylone, by Alain Gautré, (Pierre Pradinas, Compagnie du Chapeau rouge, Avignon, 1979)