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French actress Jeanne Moreau dies aged 89

Jeanne Moreau, the actress who became a symbol of France’s New Wave cinema, has died aged 89.

The award-winning star, whose films include Francois Truffaut’s 1962 classic Jules And Jim, was found dead at her home in Paris on Monday.

Moreau rose to international fame during the 1960s, having worked with some of the most prominent avant-guarde directors of the time, including Orson Wells, Wim Wenders and Michelangelo Antonioni.

Her most famous role came in Jules And Jim, in which her iconic laugh and modern style became immortalised in film posters.

Moreau in the poster of 1962's Jules And Jim
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Moreau in the poster of 1962’s Jules And Jim

In it she plays Catherine, a woman in the middle of a love triangle. Despite her character’s name being absent from the film’s title, it was Moreau’s picture which was used to market the film.

Moreau starred in some of the most canonical works of classic cinema, like Antonioni’s The Night, Luis Bunuel’s Diary Of A Chambermaid and Elia Kazan’s The Last Tycoon.

In 1960, she won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes International Film Festival for Peter Brook’s Seven Days … Seven Nights, starring alongside Jean-Paul Belmondo, another icon of the New Wave.

French actress Jeanne Moreau and director Francois Truffaut with the awards they received for the classic film Jules et Jim
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French actress Jeanne Moreau and director Francois Truffaut

Five years later, she won a BAFTA for Louis Malle’s comedy Viva Maria!, and went on to pick up France’s equivalent of an Oscar, the Cesar Award, for 1992’s The Old Lady Who Walked In The Sea.

Her career spanned seven decades, and Moreau continued to star in films well into her eighties, starring in the late Manoel de Oliveira’s Gebo And The Shadow in 2012.

From 1992 to 2008, Moreau was given with 15 lifetime achievement awards, including a BAFTA fellowship and a career Golden Lion at Venice.

Paying tribute to her, French President Emmanuel Macron said Moreau had “embodied cinema” and she was a free spirit who “always rebelled against the established order”.

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