Simone Signoret

Biography

Simone Signoret (French pronunciation: ​[simɔn siɲɔˈʁɛ]; 25 March 1921 – 30 September 1985) was a French cinema actress often hailed as one of France's greatest film stars. She became the first French person to win an Academy Award, for her role in Room at the Top (1959). In her lifetime she also received a César, three BAFTAs, an Emmy, Cannes Film Festival recognition, the Silver Bear for Best Actress awards and a Golden Globe nomination. Early life Signoret was born Simone Henriette Charlotte Kaminker in Wiesbaden, Germany, to André and Georgette (Signoret) Kaminker, as the eldest of three children, with two younger brothers. Her father, a pioneering interpreter who worked in the League of Nations, was a French-born Jewish army officer of Polish descent, who brought the family to Neuilly-sur-Seine on the outskirts of Paris. Her mother, Georgette, from whom she acquired her stage name, was a French Catholic. Signoret grew up in Paris in an intellectual atmosphere and studied the English language in school, earning a teaching certificate. She tutored English and Latin and worked part-time as a typist for a French collaborationist newspaper, Les nouveaux temps, run by Jean Luchaire. Career During the German occupation of France, Signoret mixed with an artistic group of writers and actors who met at a café in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés quarter, Café de Flore. By this time, she had developed an interest in acting and was encouraged by her friends, including her lover, Daniel Gélin, to follow her ambition. In 1942, she began appearing in bit parts and was able to earn enough money to support her mother and two brothers as her father, who was a French patriot, had fled the country in 1940 to join General De Gaulle in England. She took her mother's maiden name for the screen to help hide her Jewish roots. Signoret's sensual features and earthy nature led to type-casting and she was often seen in roles as a prostitute. She won considerable attention in La Ronde (1950), a film which was banned briefly in New York as immoral. She won further acclaim, including an acting award from the British Film Academy, for her portrayal of another prostitute in Jacques Becker's Casque d'or (1951). She appeared in many notable films in France during the 1950s, including Thérèse Raquin (1953), directed by Marcel Carné, Les Diaboliques (1954), and The Crucible (Les Sorcières de Salem; 1956), based on Arthur Miller's The Crucible. In 1958, Signoret acted in the English set Room at the Top (1959), which won her numerous awards including the Best Female Performance Prize at Cannes and the Academy Award for Best Actress. She was the only French cinema actress to receive an Oscar until Juliette Binoche in 1997 (Supporting Actress) and Marion Cotillard in 2008 (Best Actress), and the first woman to win the award appearing in a foreign film. She was offered films in Hollywood, but turned them down and continued to work in France and England. She played opposite Laurence Olivier in Term of Trial (1962). She did work in America for Ship of Fools (1965), which earned her another Oscar nomination, and appeared in a few other Hollywood films before returning to France in 1969. In 1962, Signoret translated Lillian Hellman's play The Little Foxes into French for a production in Paris that ran for six months at the Theatre Sarah-Bernhardt. She played the Regina role as well. Hellman was displeased with the production, although the translation was approved by scholars selected by Hellman. Signoret's one attempt at Shakespeare, performing Lady Macbeth opposite Alec Guinness at the Royal Court Theatre in London in 1966 proved to be ill-advised, with some harsh critics; one referred to her English as "impossibly Gallic". In her later years, Signoret was often criticised for gaining weight and letting her looks go, but she was never concerned with glamour, ignored the insults and continued giving finely etched performances. She won more acclaim for her portrayal of a weary madam in Madame Rosa (1977) and as an unmarried sister who unknowingly falls in love with her paralyzed brother via anonymous correspondence in I Sent a Letter to my Love (1980). Personal life Signoret's memoirs, Nostalgia Isn't What It Used To Be, were published in 1978. She also wrote a novel, Adieu Volodya, published in 1985, the year of her death. Signoret first married filmmaker Yves Allégret (1944–49), with whom she had a daughter Catherine Allégret, herself an actress. Her second marriage was to the Italian-born French actor Yves Montand in 1951, a union which lasted until her death. A lifelong chain smoker, Signoret died of pancreatic cancer in Auteuil-Anthouillet, France, and is buried in Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris next to her second husband. Filmography as Actress: 1986 Music Hall (TV Movie) Yvonne Pierre 1983 Thérèse Humbert (TV Movie) Thérèse Humbert 1982 Guy de Maupassant Maupassant's mother 1982 L'étoile du Nord Mme Louise Baron 1980 I Sent a Letter to My Love Louise Martin 1979 The Adolescent Mamie 1978 Judith Therpauve Judith Therpauve 1978 Madame le juge (TV Series) Élisabeth Massot / Le juge d'instruction Élisabeth Massot - Autopsie d'un témoignage (1978) ... Élisabeth Massot - 2 + 2 = 4 (1978) ... Le juge d'instruction Élisabeth Massot - Le feu (1978) ... Élisabeth Massot - Un innocent (1978) ... Élisabeth Massot - Monsieur Bais (1978) ... Élisabeth Massot Show all 6 episodes 1977 Madame Rosa Madame Rosa 1976 Police Python 357 Thérèse Ganay 1975 The Flesh of the Orchid Lady Vamos 1973 Rude journée pour la reine Jeanne 1973 The Burned Barns Rose 1971 La veuve Couderc Veuve Couderc Tati 1971 Le chat Clémence Bouin 1971 Countdown Léa 1970 A Hostage (TV Movie) Meg 1970 The Confession Mme L. / Lise London 1969 L'américain Léone 1969 Army of Shadows Mathilde 1969 Mr. Freedom Cameo appearance (uncredited) 1968 The Sea Gull Arkadina, an actress 1967 Games Lisa Schindler 1966 A Small Rebellion (TV Movie) Sara Lescaut 1966 The Deadly Affair Elsa Fennan 1966 Is Paris Burning? Cafe Owner 1966 Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre (TV Series) Sara Lescault - A Small Rebellion (1966) ... Sara Lescault 1965 Compartiment tueurs Eliane Darrès 1965 Ship of Fools La Condesa 1963 Sweet and Sour Genevieve 1963 The Day and the Hour Therese Dutheil 1963 The Shortest Day Unconfirmed 1962 Term of Trial Anna 1961 Barabbas (uncredited) 1961 Famous Love Affairs Jenny (segment "Jenny de Lacour") 1961 Les mauvais coups Roberte 1960 Hungry for Love Adua Giovannetti 1960 General Electric Theater (TV Series) Woman - Don't You Remember? (1960) ... Woman 1959 Room at the Top Alice Aisgill 1957 The Crucible Elisabeth Proctor 1957 Die Windrose 1956 Un matin comme les autres (Short) Janine Alix 1956 Death in the Garden Djin 1955 Mutter Courage und ihre Kinder (Short) Yvette, Lagerhure 1955 Diabolique Nicole Horner 1953 The Adultress Thérèse Raquin 1952 Casque d'Or Marie 'Casque d'Or' 1951 Shadow and Light Isabelle Leritz 1951 ...Sans laisser d'adresse Une journaliste (uncredited) 1950 Gunman in the Streets Denise Vernon 1950 Le traqué Denise Vernon 1950 La Ronde Léocadie, la prostitutée 1950 Four Days Leave Yvonne 1950 Manèges Dora 1948 Dilemma of Two Angels Anne-Marie / Marianne 1948 Dédée d'Anvers Dédée 1948 Against the Wind Michèle Dennis 1947 Fantômas Hélène 1946 Back Streets of Paris Gisele 1946 Le couple idéal Annette 1946 Dawn Devils Lily, la cabaretière 1945 La boîte aux rêves Une femme (uncredited) 1944 Le mort ne reçoit plus La maitresse de Firmin 1944 Service de nuit La danseuse à la taverne 1944 Behold Beatrice Liliane Moraccini 1944 L'ange de la nuit Une étudiante (uncredited) 1943 Adieu Léonard La gitane (uncredited) 1943 Le voyageur de la Toussaint Extra (uncredited) 1942 The Benefactor La sécrétaire du journal (uncredited) 1942 Les Visiteurs du Soir Extra (uncredited) 1942 Le prince charmant 1942 Boléro Une employée de maison de couture (uncredited)

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Person Photo
Known For
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Casque D'Or

Marie 'Casque d'Or'

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Ship of Fools

La Condesa

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Death in The Garden

Djin

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Room at the Top

Alice Aisgill

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The Crucible

Elisabeth Proctor

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La Ronde

Léocadie, la prostitutée

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Das Geständnis

Lise

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The Widow Couderc

Veuve Couderc Tati

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Thérèse Raquin

Thérèse Raquin

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Hungry for Love

Adua Giovannetti

Starring In
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All About Yves Montand

Self (archive footage)

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Daniel Day-Lewis - L'héritier

Self (archive footage)

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Filmstar mit Charakter - Simone Signoret

Self (archive footage)

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Jane Fonda in Five Acts

Self (archive footage) (uncredited)

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Lino Ventura, la part intime

Self (archive footage)

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Clouzot - Meister des psychologischen Thrillers

Nicole Horner (archive footage)

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Ivo Livi genannt Yves Montand

Self (archive footage)

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Deux de la Vague

Self (archive footage)

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Marylin's letzte Sitzung

Simone Signoret

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Henri Langlois: Phantom of the Cinematheque

Herself (archive footage)

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Heinz Rühmann: Kleiner Mann ganz groß

(archive footage) (uncredited)

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Mémoires pour Simone

Herself (archive footage)

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Guy de Maupassant

Laure

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L'étoile du Nord

Mme Louise Baron

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I Sent a Letter to My Love

Louise Martin

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The Adolescent

Catherine / la mère de Jean-Jean's mother

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Judith Therpauve

Judith Therpauve

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A Grin Without A Cat

Narrator (voice)

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Madame Rosa

Madame Rosa

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Police Python 357.1976

Thérèse Ganay

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La chair de l'orchidée

Lady Vamos

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La solitude du chanteur de fond

Herself (voice) (uncredited)

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The Burned Barns

Rose

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The Widow Couderc

Veuve Couderc Tati

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Le Chat

Clémence Bouin

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Countdown

Léa

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Das Geständnis

Lise

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L'Américain

Léone

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Army of Shadows

Mathilde

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Mr. Freedom

Cameo appearance (uncredited)

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The Sea Gull

Irina Arkadina

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Games

Lisa Schindler

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Is Paris Burning?

Cafe Owner

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The Deadly Affair

Elsa Fennan

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Compartiment tueurs

Eliane Darrès - une comédienne

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The Love Goddesses

Herself (archive footage)

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Ship of Fools

La Condesa

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Sweet and Sour

Madame Geneviève

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Le Joli Mai

Narrator (English version) (voice)

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Il Giorno più Corto

Contadina

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The Day and the Hour

Therese Dutheil

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Term of Trial

Anna

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Hungry for Love

Adua Giovannetti

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Room at the Top

Alice Aisgill

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The Crucible

Elisabeth Proctor

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Death in The Garden

Djin

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Diabolique

Nicole Horner

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Thérèse Raquin

Thérèse Raquin

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Casque D'Or

Marie 'Casque d'Or'

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Without Leaving an Address

Une journaliste au journal (uncredited)

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Shadow and Light

Isabelle Leritz

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La Ronde

Léocadie, la prostitutée

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Manèges

Dora

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Against the Wind

Michèle

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Dédée d'Anvers

Dédée

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Le Voyageur de la Toussaint

Extra (uncredited)

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Les visiteurs du soir

Extra (uncredited)

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Le prince charmant

(uncredited)

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