From 'Donkey Skin' to 'The Umbrellas of Cherbourg': The whimsical world of Michel Legrand

UPI, AFP | Catherine Deneuve attends a screening of "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg" in New York.

The Oscar-winning French composer Michel Legrand, who has died in Paris aged 86, is best remembered in France for the musical scores he wrote for New Wave director Jacques Demy.


A jazz lover, Legrand wrote more than 200 film and TV scores in a glittering career that saw him collaborate with the likes of Orson Welles, Jean Cocteau, Frank Sinatra and Edith Piaf.

He worked with Demy on the musicals "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg" (1964), "The Young Girls of Rochefort" (1967) and "Donkey Skin" (1970), all three starring Catherine Deneuve.

He also worked Demy's partner Agnès Varda on her 1962 hit "Clèo from 5 to 7".

Legrand first won an Academy Award in 1969 for the song "The Windmills of Your Mind" from the film "The Thomas Crown Affair" by Norman Jewison.

He would go on to win two more, for "Summer of '42" (1972) by Robert Mulligan and "Yentl" (1984) by Barbra Streisand, along with five Grammys.

  • "Clèo from 5 to 7" (1962) by Agnès Varda
  • "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg" (1964) by Jacques Demy
  • "The Young Girls of Rochefort" (1967) by Jacques Demy
  • "Donkey Skin" (1970) by Jacques Demy
  • "Yentl" (1984) by Barbra Streisand

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