Catherine Fabienne Deneuve, née Dorléac, born October 22, 1943, is one of France’s most widely known actresses. Deneuve is her mother’s maiden-name, which she took to avoid confusion with her actress sister who used their father’s name.
Deneuve has been in over 100 feature-length movies. She often portrayed icy, deranged beauties in films such as Roman Polanski’s Repulsion (1965). Her singing was front-and-center in Jacques Demy’s Les Parapluies de Cherbourg (1964), which has no spoken dialogue. Deneuve was nominated for an Academy Award for her dramatic acting skills for Régis Wargnier’s highly metaphorical film Indochine (1992), in which she played the role of a colonial planter. She also has a comedic side, as seen in François Ozon’s Potiche (2010). Deneuve’s comedic and singing talents were both featured in Huit Femmes (2002), again by Ozon. She’s also appeared in seven films in English, including the vampire horror flick The Hunger, by Tony Scott (1983). In short, she’s an extremely versatile actress.
Naturally, her great beauty has brought her attention off the screen as well. Yves Saint Laurent designed her clothing for several films in the 70s and Deneuve was the face for his cosmetics line. She was the face of Chanel No. 5 in the 70s and the model for Marianne in the 80s. Even in her sixties, she represents L’Oréal and MAC cosmetics and Louis Vuitton luggage. No dummy, she has capitalized on her fame for her own perfume, Deneuve, as well as accessories and even greeting cards. She’s also financially and personally committed to a number of charitable endeavors, including Amnesty International and organizations defending the environment and children. Her personal life is also well-documented despite her desire for privacy. She is quoted is saying that marriage is obsolete and a trap.
Today’s expression, le sang-froid (luh sanh frwa) literally means “cold-blood.” It refers to keeping one’s cool, much like the ice-maiden stereotype in many of Deneuve’s films.
- Fashion in Film: Catherine Deneuve’s Classic Glamour in Belle de Jour (hipparis.com)
- Star Deneuve defends Depardieu (bbc.co.uk)
- Deneuve-Shredding: Repulsion Revisited (thequietus.com)