French actress and 1950s cinematic icon Annie Girardot died peacefully in Paris on Monday after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease, her family said. She was 79.
AFP - French actress Annie Girardot, who performed in more than 100 films from the 1950s on, died in Paris on Monday after a long battle with Alzheimer's, her family said. She was 79.
"She left peacefully," her granddaughter Lola Vogel said. "Mom and I were at her side."
Born in Paris on October 25, 1931, Girardot trained as a nurse -- her mother was a concierge -- before becoming a stage actress. France's multi-talented artist Jean Cocteau once said Girardot had "the most beautiful post-war dramatic temperament".
She joined the prestigious Comedie Francaise theatre in 1954 and quit three years later.
Her first silver screen performance was in Andre Hunebelle's "13 at Table" in 1955.
In 1969 she starred as a prostitute in Luchino Visconti's "Rocco and His Brothers", playing alongside French star Alain Delon and Italian actor Renato Salvatori, also her future husband and father to daughter Giulia.
She performed in dozens of classic French films, in roles including policewoman, lawyer and teacher.
In 1977 she won the Best Actress Cesar, France's equivalent to an Oscar, for her role in Jean-Louis Bertucelli's "Doctor Francoise Gailland".
Her struggle with Alzheimer's was documented in Nicolas Baulieu's film "Life Is Like That".
"I've always gone to the market myself, done my shopping, my housework. I've never been a velvety star," she wrote in 1999.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy hailed her as "one of the most unforgettable figures of French cinema of the last 50 years".
She was an "actress who radiated across Europe after playing Nadia, the star of 'Rocco and His Brothers'," he said in a statement.
Film director Claude Lelouch, who shot "Life for Life" with her in 1967, called Girardot "French cinema's greatest post-war actress".
Date created : 2011-02-28