French film icon Catherine Deneuve suffers stroke

Paris (AFP) –


The French actress Catherine Deneuve is in a Paris hospital after suffering a small stroke, her family told AFP Wednesday.

The 76-year-old screen icon who made her name in such classic films as Luis Bunuel's "Belle de Jour", Roman Polanski's "Repulsion" and Jacques Demy's "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg", had a "very limited stroke which is reversible", her family said in a statement.

"Happily she has no loss of motor function, although she will of course have to rest for a while," said the statement, issued on behalf of her family by her agent Claire Blondel.

Deneuve is arguably the most famous French actress of all time, having starred in more than 100 films, most recently alongside Juliette Binoche in Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda's "The Truth".

She had been shooting her latest film, "De son vivant" ("In her/his Lifetime") when she was taken ill.

A source close to the actress had earlier told the French television news channel BFMTV that she was suffering from "exhaustion after doing too much".

Known in her youth as the "ice queen" for her cool, perfect blonde looks, the director Francois Truffaut said she was so beautiful "that a cinema-goer finds his happiness simply by looking at her".

Deneuve, who is a fixture of Paris fashion week front rows, was also a muse for her friend the legendary fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, who saw her as the model of the liberated modern woman

She sparked uproar last year at the height of the #MeToo movement by joining 100 other prominent French women in signing an open letter defending men's right to "hit on" women.

She has also been a staunch defender of her friend Polanski, who is wanted in the US after being convicted of raping a 13-year-old girl in the 1970s.