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September 19, 2020

Michèle Morgan: One of the Great French Actresses of the 20th Century

Born 1920 as Simone Renée Roussel, French actress Michèle Morgan left home at the age of 15 for Paris determined to become an actress. She was offered a major role in the film Gribouille (1937), then came Le Quai des brumes (1938), and Remorques (1941).

Morgan left for the United States and Hollywood where she was contracted to RKO Pictures in 1941. Her career there proved rather disappointing, apart from Joan of Paris (1942), and Higher and Higher (1943).

After the war, Morgan returned to France and quickly resumed her career with the film La Symphonie Pastorale (1946) directed by Jean Delannoy, which earned her the Best Actress award at the Cannes Film Festival. She continued working in films throughout the 1950s and 1960s. In the 1970s, she virtually retired from her acting career, then made only occasional appearances in film, television and theatre.

Morgan was a leading lady for three decades in both French cinema and Hollywood features. She is considered to have been one of the great French actresses of the 20th century, and was the inaugural winner of the Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival.

In 1992, Morgan was given an honorary César Award for her contributions to French cinema. In 1996, she also received the Career Golden Lion for lifetime achievement at the Venice Film Festival.

Morgan died in 2016, aged 96, in Meudon, France of natural causes. For her contribution to the motion picture industry, she has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1645 Vine Street.

Take a look at these gorgeous photos to see the beauty of Michèle Morgan in the 1950s and ’60s.


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