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Yves Montand

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Yves Montand
Montand in 1965
Ivo Livi

(1921-10-13)13 October 1921
Died9 November 1991(1991-11-09) (aged 70)
Occupation(s)Actor, singer
Years active1946–1991
(m. 1951; died 1985)
PartnerCarole Amiel (1987–1991)
RelativesJean-Louis Livi (nephew)

Ivo Livi (Italian pronunciation: [ˈiːvo ˈliːvi]; 13 October 1921 – 9 November 1991), better known as Yves Montand (French: [iv mɔ̃tɑ̃]), was an Italian-born French actor and singer. He is said to be one of France's greatest 20th-century artists.[1]

Early life[edit]

Montand was born Ivo Livi in Monsummano Terme, Italy, to Giovanni Livi, a broom manufacturer.[2][3] Montand's mother Giuseppina Simoni was a devout Catholic. The family left Italy for France in 1923 following fascist Benito Mussolini's rise to power.[4] He grew up in Marseille, where, as a young man, he worked in his sister's beauty salon (Salon de Coiffure), as well as later on the docks. He began a career in show business as a music-hall singer. In 1944, he was discovered by Édith Piaf in Paris; she made him part of her act.[citation needed]


Montand achieved international recognition as a singer and actor, starring in many films. He is recognised for crooner style songs, with those about Paris becoming instant classics. He was one of the best known performers at Bruno Coquatrix's Paris Olympia music hall, and toured with musicians including Didi Duprat. In October 1947, he sang "Mais qu'est-ce que j'ai ?" (music by Henri Betti and lyrics by Édith Piaf) at the Théâtre de l'Étoile. Betti also asked him to sing "C'est si bon" but Montand refused. Following the success of the recording of this song by the Sœurs Étienne in 1948, he decided to record it. Montand was also very popular in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, where he did a concert tour in 1956-57.[5]

During his career, Montand acted in American motion pictures as well as on Broadway. He was nominated for a César Award for Best Actor in 1980 for I comme Icare and again in 1984 for Garçon! In 1986, after his international box-office draw power had fallen off considerably, the 65-year-old Montand gave one of his best remembered performances, as the scheming uncle in Jean de Florette, co-starring Gérard Depardieu, and Manon des Sources (both 1986), co-starring Emmanuelle Béart. The film was a worldwide critical hit and revived Montand's profile in the United States, where he made an appearance on Late Night with David Letterman.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Montand at the 1987 Cannes Film Festival

In 1951, he married Simone Signoret, and they co-starred in several films throughout their careers. The marriage was, by all accounts, fairly harmonious, lasting until her death in 1985, although Montand had a number of well-publicised affairs, notably with American actress Marilyn Monroe, with whom he starred in one of her final films, Let's Make Love. He was the stepfather to Signoret's daughter from her previous marriage, Catherine Allégret.

Montand's only child, a son named Valentin, by his second wife, Carole Amiel (b. 1960), was born in 1988. In a paternity suit that caused commotion across France, another woman accused Montand of being the father of her daughter and went to court to obtain a DNA sample from him. Montand refused, but the woman persisted even after his death. In a court ruling that made international headlines, the woman won the right to have Montand exhumed and a sample taken.[7] The results indicated that he was not the girl's biological father.[8]

He supported left-wing causes during the 1950s and 1960s, and attended Communist festivals and meetings. In later life, his views moderated and shifted to the right.[9]

Signoret and Montand had a home in Autheuil-Authouillet, Normandy, where the main village street is named after him.

In his later years, he maintained a home in Saint-Paul-de-Vence, Provence, until his death from a heart attack in November 1991.[10] In an interview, Jean-Jacques Beineix said, "[H]e died on the set [of IP5: The Island of Pachyderms]... On the very last day, after his very last shot. It was the very last night and we were doing retakes. He finished what he was doing and then he just died. And the film tells the story of an old man who dies from a heart attack, which is the same thing that happened!"[11] Montand is interred next to his first wife, Simone Signoret, in Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.

In 2004, Catherine Allégret, Signoret's daughter from her first marriage to director Yves Allégret, alleged in her autobiography Un monde a l'envers (A World Upside Down) that she had been sexually abused by her stepfather from the age of five; his behaviour apparently continuing for many years.[12] and that he had a "more than equivocal attitude to her" as she got older.[13] However, she also claimed to have been reconciled to him in the latter years of his life.[14]


Yves Montand as Formula One driver Jean-Pierre Sarti in Grand Prix, 1966
Year Title Role Director Notes
1941 La Prière aux étoiles Un gars dans le café Marcel Pagnol Uncredited
1946 Star Without Light Pierre Marcel Blistène
Gates of the Night Jean Diego Marcel Carné
1948 The Idol Fontana Alexander Esway
1950 Lost Souvenirs Raoul Christian-Jaque (segment "Le violon")
1951 The Red Inn Singing Commentator Claude Autant-Lara Voice
Paris Is Always Paris Himself Luciano Emmer cameo appearance
Paris Still Sings Himself Pierre Montazel
1953 Le salaire de la peur (The Wages of Fear) Mario Henri-Georges Clouzot
Saluti e baci Himself Maurice Labro and Giorgio Simonelli Uncredited
1954 Tempi Nostri Vasco Alessandro Blasetti and Paul Paviot
1955 Napoléon François Joseph Lefebvre Sacha Guitry
The Heroes Are Tired Michel Rivière Yves Ciampi
Marguerite de la nuit Monsieur Léon Claude Autant-Lara
1957 The Wolves Ricuccio Giuseppe De Santis
Les Sorcières de Salem John Proctor Raymond Rouleau
La grande strada azzurra Giovanni Squarciò Gillo Pontecorvo
1958 Premier mai Jean Meunier Luis Saslavsky
1959 Legge, La Matteo Brigante Jules Dassin
1960 Let's Make Love Clement / Dumas George Cukor
1961 Sanctuary Candy Man Tony Richardson
Goodbye Again Roger Demarest Anatole Litvak
1962 My Geisha Paul Robaix Jack Cardiff
1963 Le Joli Mai Narrator Chris Marker
1965 Compartiment tueurs Inspector Grazziani Costa-Gavras
1966 La guerre est finie Diego Mora Alain Resnais
Is Paris Burning? Sgt. Marcel Bizien René Clément
Grand Prix Jean- Pierre Sarti John Frankenheimer
1967 Vivre pour vivre Robert Colomb Claude Lelouch
1968 Mr. Freedom Captain Formidable William Klein cameo appearance, Uncredited
Un soir, un train Mathias André Delvaux
1969 The Devil by the Tail Baron César Maricorne Philippe de Broca
Z Grigoris Lambrakis Costa-Gavras
1970 L'Aveu Gérard Costa-Gavras
On a Clear Day You Can See Forever Marc Chabot Vincente Minnelli
Le Cercle Rouge Jansen Jean-Pierre Melville
1971 La folie des grandeurs Blaze Gérard Oury
1972 Tout va bien "The Director" Jean-Luc Godard and Jean-Pierre Gorin
César et Rosalie César Claude Sautet
État de Siège Philip Michael Santore Costa-Gavras
1973 Le Fils [fr] Ange Orahona Pierre Granier-Deferre
1974 Chance and Violence Laurent Bermann Philippe Labro
Vincent, François, Paul...et les autres Vincent Claude Sautet
1975 Section spéciale Un milicien Costa-Gavras Uncredited
Le Sauvage Martin Jean-Paul Rappeneau
1976 Police Python 357 Inspecteur Marc Ferrot Alain Corneau
Le Grand Escogriffe Morland Claude Pinoteau
A Butterfly in the Night Himself Armando Bó Voice
1977 La Menace Henri Savin Alain Corneau
Le fond de l'air est rouge Narrator Chris Marker
Jacques Prévert Himself Jean Desvilles
1978 Roads to the South Jean Larrea Joseph Losey
1979 Clair de femme Michel Follin Costa-Gavras
I as in Icarus Henri Volney Henri Verneuil
1981 Le Choix des armes Noël Durieux Alain Corneau
1982 Tout feu, tout flamme Victor Valance Jean-Paul Rappeneau
1983 Garçon! Alex Claude Sautet
1986 Jean de Florette César Soubeyran Claude Berri
Manon des Sources
1988 Trois places pour le 26 Himself Jacques Demy
1991 Netchaïev est de retour [fr] Pierre Marroux Jacques Deray
1992 IP5: L'île aux pachydermes Léon Marcel Jean-Jacques Beineix (final film role)


  • 1952: Chante (Odéon)
  • 1953: Chante ses dernières créations (Odéon)
  • 1953: Chante Paris (Odéon)
  • 1953: Récital au Théâtre de l'Étoile 1953 (Odéon, live)
  • 1954: Chante ses derniers succès (Odéon)
  • 1954: # 54 (Odéon)
  • 1955: Chansons populaires de France (Odéon)
  • 1957: 13 ans déjà ! (Odéon)
  • 1958: Dix chansons pour l'été (Odéon)
  • 1958: Succès du Récital 1958 au Théâtre de L'Étoile (Odéon)
  • 1958: Récital 1 + Récital 2 (Philips)
  • 1958: Étoile 58 (Philips)
  • 1959: One Man Show (Columbia)
  • 1960: Dansez avec Yves Montand (Philips)
  • 1961: Rengaine ta rengaine (Philips)
  • 1962: Chante Prévert (Philips)
  • 1962: Récital 63 – Intégral du Théâtre de l'Étoile (Philips, live)
  • 1967: 7 (Philips)
  • 1968: La Bicyclette (Philips)
  • 1968: Le Paris de... (Philips)
  • 1968: À l'Olympia (Philips, live)
  • 1970: On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (Columbia, soundtrack with Barbra Streisand)
  • 1972: Dans son dernier "One man show" intégral (CBS, live)
  • 1974: Montand de mon temps (CBS or TriStar Music)
  • 1981: D'hier et d'aujourd'hui (Philips)
  • 1981: Le disque de la paix (Philips)
  • 1982: Olympia 81 (Philips)
  • 1983: In English (Philips)
  • 1984: Chante David Mc Neil (Philips)
  • 1988: Trois places pour le 26 (Philips, w/ Mathilda May, soundtrack)
  • 1993: Les années Odéon – 1945–1958 (Columbia, 9-CD boxset)
  • 1997: Plaisirs inédits (Universal)
  • 2000: Et la fête continue – Intégrale 1945–1949 – Vol. 1 (Frémeaux)
  • 2001: Inédits, rares & indispensables (Mercury, 4-CD boxset)
  • 2004: Sensationnel – Intégrale 1949–1953 – Vol. 2 (Frémeaux)
  • 2007: Une étoile à l'Étoile – Intégrale 1953–1954 – Vol. 3 (Frémeaux, live)


  1. ^ "«Montand est à nous»: le siècle d'Ivo Livi". France tv & vous (in French). 11 October 2021. Archived from the original on 13 October 2021. Retrieved 30 July 2023.
  2. ^ Montand, Yves; Hamon, Hervé; Rotman, Patrick; Leggatt, Jeremy (1992). You see, I haven't forgotten. Knopf. ISBN 0679410120.
  3. ^ Rosen, Marjorie (25 November 1991). "Adieu, Yves". People. 36 (20). Archived from the original on 5 February 2009. Retrieved 30 July 2023.
  4. ^ Hodgson, Moira (5 September 1982). "Yves Montand – From the Music Hall to the Met". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 July 2023.
  5. ^ Oiva, Mila; Salmi, Hannu; Johnson, Bruce (29 April 2021). Yves Montand in the USSR: Cultural Diplomacy and Mixed Messages. Cham: Springer International Publishing. doi:10.1007/978-3-030-69048-9. ISBN 978-3-030-69047-2. S2CID 242402774.
  6. ^ "Late Night with David Letterman (a Guest Stars & Air Dates Guide)". 17 June 1987. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
  7. ^ "Body of Entertainer Montand Exhumed". Los Angeles Times. 12 March 1998. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  8. ^ Fuchs, Rachel G. (25 July 2008). Contested Paternity: Constructing Families in Modern France. Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 272. ISBN 978-0801898167.
  9. ^ Meisler, Stanley (1 October 1985). "French Actress Simone Signoret Dies at 64". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 17 November 2021.
  10. ^ "Yves Montand - Biography". IMDb. Retrieved 30 July 2023.
  11. ^ "The Return of Jean-Jacques Beineix, Pt. II". www.videobusiness.com. 5 June 2009. Retrieved 17 June 2009.
  12. ^ Bremnerin, Charles (30 September 2004). "Actress says cinema idol stepfather abused her". Irish Independent. The Times (London). Retrieved 20 November 2013.
  13. ^ "Catherine Allégret détaille ses relations avec Montand". L'Obs (in French). 1 October 2004. Retrieved 30 July 2023.
  14. ^ Mathieu, Hélène (6 February 2009). "Catherine Allégret : « Cette vérité, c'est à moi de la dire »". Psychologies.com (in French). Retrieved 30 July 2023.

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