Notable Deaths ›

Jeanne Moreau (1928 - 2017)

Getty / Hulton Archive

Jeanne Moreau (1928 - 2017)

Jeanne Moreau, the acclaimed French actress who starred in director Francois Truffaut’s “Jules and Jim,” died Monday, July 31, 2017, in Paris, according to multiple news sources. She was 89.

Moreau, who made her mark during the 1960s, also starred in director Louis Malle’s “Elevator to the Gallows,” released in 1958.

In 1962's “Jules and Jim,” Moreau played Catherine, the girlfriend of Jules who later becomes his wife. The movie, set around the time of World War I, involves a tragic love triangle with Jules, Catherine, and Jim.

The late film critic Roger Ebert praised Moreau’s acting in the movie as her “first great performance, all the greater because of the art with which she presents Catherine's discontent.”


Click to get weekly celebrity death news delivered to your inbox.


She was born Jan. 23, 1928, in Paris, the daughter of the former Katherine Buckley, a dancer, and Anatole-Desire Moreau, a restaurateur. She debuted onstage at the Avignon Festival, and her first play was Ivan Turgenev’s “A Month in the Country.”

Moreau played small roles in films in the late 1940s and early 1950s. In the late 1950s, she began working with Malle in “Elevator to the Gallows” (1958) and his follow-up, “The Lovers” (1959), a film that was contentious at the time and prompted the media to dub Moreau as the next Brigitte Bardot.

She also worked with many other acclaimed directors including Michelangelo Antonioni, Orson Welles, Luis Buñuel, Elia Kazan, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and Wim Wenders. Welles once called Moreau “the greatest actress in the world.”

She made more than 100 films from 1950 to 2015.

Moreau won best actress awards at the 1958 Venice Film Festival and the 1960 Cannes Film Festiva. In 2003, she received an honorary Golden Palm Award at Cannes. In 1998, she received an honorary Academy Award for lifetime achievement.

In a 2001 interview with Emma Brockes of The Guardian, Moreau showed she wasn’t fond of reflecting on her lengthy acting career.

“The life you had is nothing,” Moreau said. “It is the life you have that is important.”

She went on to explain.

“Nostalgia is when you want things to stay the same. I know so many people staying in the same place. And I think, my God, look at them! They’re dead before they die. That’s a terrible risk.

“Living is risking.”

We invite you to share condolences for Jeanne Moreau in our Guest Book.