Nationality: French. Born: Paris, 25 October 1931. Education: Studied acting with Henry Bosc and Jean Meyer; then studied at the Paris Conservatory under Henri Collan. Family: Married the actor Renato Salvatori, 1962, daughter: Julia. Career: 1954–57—member of the Comédie Française; 1955—film debut in Treize à table; has also acted on radio and television, and in cabaret; stage work includes Visconti's productions of Two for the Seesaw and After the Fall; 1960—spoken role in ballet Persephone, La Scala, Milan; 1992—in TV mini-series Delitti Privati. Awards: Best Actress, Venice Film Festival, for Trois chambres à Manhattan, 1965; César Award, for Docteur Françoise Gailland, 1975. Address: 25 place des Vosges, 75003 Paris, France.
Films as Actress:
Treize à table (Hunebelle)
Reproduction interdite (Grangier); L'Homme aux clefs d'or (Joannon)
Le Rouge est mis (Grangier); L'Amour est en jeu (Ma femme, mon gosse, et moi) (Marc Allégret); Le Désert de Pigalle (Joannon); Maigret tend un piège (Maigret Lays a Trap; Inspector Maigret) (Delannoy) (as Yvonne Maurin)
La Corde raide (Lovers on a Tightrope) (Dudremet) (as Cora); Recours en grâce (Benedek); "Le Divorce" ep. of La Française et l'amour (Love and the Frenchwoman) (Christian-Jaque) (as Danielle); La Proie pour l'ombre (Astruc) (as Anna); Rocco e i suoi fratelli (Rocco and His Brothers; Rocco et ses freres) (Visconti) (as Nadia)
"Les comédiennes" ep. of Amours célèbres (Boisrond); Le Rendez-vous (Delannoy)
Le Bateau d'Emile (Rossi) (as Fernande); Pourquoi Paris? (de la Patellière); Le Vice et la vertu (Vice and Virtue) (Vadim) (as Juliette); "L'affaire Fenayrou" ("The Fenayrou Case") ep. of Le Crime ne paie pas (Crime Does Not Pay; The Gentle Art of Murder) (Oury) (as Gabrielle Fenayrou); Il Giorno più corto (Corbucci) (as guest); Smog (Rossi) (as Gabriella)
La donna scimmia (The Ape Woman) (Ferreri) (as Maria); I compagni (The Organizer; The Strikers; Les Camarades) (Monicelli) (as Niobe); I fuorilegge del matrimonio (Orsini, Vittorio Taviani, and Paolo Taviani) (as Margherita)
La Bonne Soupe (The Good Soup) (Thomas) (as young Marie-Paule); L'Autre Femme (La Otra Mujer; Quella terribile notte) (Villiers); Un Monsieur de compagnie (Male Companion) (de Broca) (as Clara); "Il Principe Azzuro" ep. of Le Belle famiglie (Gregoretti)
La ragazza in prestito (Engagement Italiano) (Giannetti) (as Clara); Declic et des claques (Clair); Trois chambres à Manhattan (Carné) (as Kay); L'Or de Duc (Baratier) (as guest)
"Djibouti" ep. of La Guerre secrète (La guerra segreta; Spione unter sich; The Dirty Game; The Dirty Agents) (Christian-Jaque) (as Nanette/Monique); Una voglia da morire (Tessari); Zhurnalist (Journalist) (Gerasimov) (as guest)
"La strega bruciate viva" ("The Witch Burned Alive") ep. of Le streghe (The Witches) (Visconti) (as Valeria); Vivre pour vivre (Live for Life) (Lelouch) (as Catherine Colomb); Les Anarchistes ou la Bande à Bonnot (Fourastié)
Erotissimo (Pirès) (as Annie); Les Gauloises bleues (Cournot) (as Mother); Bice skoro propast sveta (It Rains in My Village) (Petrovic); La Vie, l'amour, la mort (Life Love Death) (Lelouch) (as woman in film); Dillinger è morto (Dillinger Is Dead) (Ferreri) (as maid)
Metti, una sera a cena (Disons, un soir à dîner) (Patroni Griffi) (as Giovanna); Un Homme qui me plaît (Love Is a Funny Thing; Again a Love Story; Un Tipo chi mi place) (Lelouch) (as Françoise); Il seme dell'uomo (The Seed of Man) (Ferreri) (as Anna); Storia di una donna (Story of a Woman) (Bercovici) (as Liliana Cardini)
Le Clair de terre (Gilles); Les Novices (Casaril) (as Mona Lisa); Elle boit pas, elle fume pas, elle drague pas . . . mais elle cause (Audiard); Mourir d'aimer (Cayatte)
Les Feux de la chandeleur (Korber)
La Mandarine (Molinaro) (as Sévérine); La Vieille Fille (Blanc) (as Muriel Buchon); Elle cause plus . . . elle flingue (Audiard) (as Rosemonde); Traitement de choc (Shock Treatment) (Jessua) (as Hélène); Il n'y a pas de fumée sans feu (Cayatte)
Ursule et Grelu (Korber) (+ pr); Juliette et Juliette (Forlani)
La Gifle (The Slap) (Pinoteau) (as Hélène Doulean)
Il sospetto (Maselli); D'amour et d'eau fraîche (Blanc); Il faut vivre dangereusement (Makovski); Le gitan (Giovanni) (as Ninie); Il pleut sur Santiago (Soto); Docteur Françoise Gailland (No Time for Breakfast) (Bertucelli) (title role)
Cours après moi que je t'attrape (Pouret); A chacun son enfer (Autopsie d'un monstre; Jedem sein Hölle) (Cayatte)
Le Dernier Baiser (Grassian); Jambon d'Ardenne (Lamy); Le Point de mire (Tramont)
La zizanie (Zidi); Vas-y maman (de Buron); L'Amour en question (Cayatte); La Clé sur la porte (Boisset); Le Cavaleur (Practice Makes Perfect; The Skirt Chaser) (de Broca) (as Lucienne); Tendre Poulet (Dear Inspector; Dear Detective) (de Broca) (as Lise Tanquerelle)
Cause toujours . . . tu m'intéresses! (Molinaro); L'ingorgo (Traffic Jam) (Comencini) (as Irene); Bobo Jacco (Jacko and Lise) (Bal) (as Magda)
Le Coeur à l'envers (Apprédéris); On a volé la cuisse de Jupiter (Jupiter's Thigh) (de Broca) (as Lise Tanquerelle); Une Robe noire pour un tueur (Giovanni)
All Night Long (Tramont) (as French teacher)
La Vie continue (Mizrahi) (as Jeanne)
Père Noel et fils (Frederick)
Souvenirs, souvenirs (Zeitoun)
Adieu Blaireau (Decout) (as Colette); Partir, revenir (Going and Coming Back) (Lelouch) (as Hélène Rivière); Olga e i suoi figli (Nocita); Io e il duce (Mussolini and I) (Negrin—for TV); Liste noire (Blacklist) (Bonnot) (as Jeanne Tufour)
Prisonnières (Silvera) (as Marthe); La Tête dans les nuages (Vecchiali)
Cinq jours en juin (Legrand) (as Marcelle); Comedie d'amour (Rawson) (as Le Fleau)
Il y a des jours . . . et des lunes (There Were Days and Moons) (Lelouch) (as woman alone); Toujours seuls (Mordillat) (as Mme. Chevillard)
Merci la vie (Thanks for Life) (Blier) (as the Old Mother)
A Cry in the Night (Spry) (as Reine)
Les Braqueuses (Girls with Guns; The Hold-up Girls) (Salome) (as Mere Cecile)
Les Misérables (Lelouch) (as farmer's wife)
Shangai 1937 (Patzak); Les Bidochons (Serge Korber); L' Âge de braise (When I Will Be Gone) (Leduc) (as Caroline Bonhomme)
Nuda proprietà vendesi (Oldoini—for TV) (as Costanza)
Préférence (Delacourt) (as Blanche)
By GIRARDOT: book—
Paroles de femmes, with Marie-Therese Cuny, Paris, 1981.
Vivre d'aimer, Paris, 1989.
Ma vie contre la tienne, Paris, 1993.
By GIRARDOT: articles—
Interview with A. Ignatov, in Soviet Film (Moscow), July 1983.
"Nesmotria ni na chto, ia schastliva," interview with A. Braginskii, in Iskusstvko Kino (Moscow), no. 8, 1989.
On GIRARDOT: books—
Gilles, Françoise, D'Annie Girardot, Paris, 1971.
Merigeau, Pascal, Annie Girardot, Paris, 1978.
On GIRARDOT: articles—
Pietzsch, I., "Faszination," in Film und Fernsehen (Berlin), December 1979.
Grandmaire, G., filmography in Revue du Cinéma (Paris), June 1991.
Hoffstetter, J., "Annie Girardot: merci la vie," in Revue du Cinéma (Paris), June 1991.
Stars (Mariembourg, Belgium), Spring 1993, Winter 1993, and Autumn 1993.
* * *
Annie Girardot launched her acting career at the Paris Conservatoire where she studied for stage performance and maintained a successful apprenticeship in the theater for several years. Brought up in the dark days of the German occupation, she won a place in the Comédie Française where Jean Cocteau called her "The finest dramatic temperament of the postwar period." But her inability to contain her need to take risks and experiment within the rigid dictates of the Comédie propelled Girardot toward the cinema. She received immediate attention for her performance in L'Homme aux clefs d'or, which earned her the Suzanne Bianchetti prize. It was this role that brought her to the attention of Luchino Visconti who cast her with Alain Delon and her future husband, Renato Salvatori, in Rocco e i suoi fratelli.
Though the early part of her career was marked by her comedic performances with the Comédie, her early screen career was circumscribed by darker roles when, in the mid-1950s, she was routinely cast as a woman of dubious morality invariably doomed to a violent end. After her debut in Treize à table, she appeared for Joannon in L'Homme aux clefs d'or as a blackmailing vamp, and in his sentimental Le Désert de Pigalle as a hardened prostitute redeemed by love but stabbed to death. She performed the role of the prostitute in routine police dramas Le Rouge est mis and Reproduction interdite, a deceptive wife in Maigret tend un piège, a scheming adulteress in Le Crime ne paie pas, and a Gestapo general's mistress in Le Vice et la vertu. Although never less than competent in these limited parts, her true potential was revealed as Nadia, the gangland harlot of Visconti's Rocco e i suoi fratelli. Her depiction of the reformed but sexually abused prostitute suffering in her humiliation was both poignant and compelling.
In the 1960s and 1970s she continued to work extensively with Italian directors in both serious and comic roles. In France her performances have been associated with the directors Philippe de Broca, André Cayatte, and Claude Lelouch, and the actor Philippe Noiret. With de Broca her talent for comedy flourished. After the early Un Monsieur de compagnie, she was Lucienne in the broad sexual farce Le Cavaleur, and her success as the female detective Lise Tanquerelle, comically caught between personal and professional roles, in Tendre Poulet led to the sequel On a volé la cuisse de Jupiter. In the two latter films she was partnered by Philippe Noiret with whom she has also appeared in more dramatic roles: in Le Rendezvous as the female detective; in La Vieille Fille as the withdrawn spinster Muriel Buchon falling in love with an equally shy bachelor; and in La Mandarine as Sévérine deserting her boring husband for an attractive teenager. For Cayatte there were socially, or morally conscious roles, particularly in Mourir d'aimer as the middle-aged teacher, ostracized and driven to suicide after an affair with a pupil. Lelouch also drew on her talents for emotionally charged roles. She gave a reserved, dignified performance as the deceived but forgiving wife Catherine Colomb in Vivre pour vivre; she was the vivacious Françoise destined to finish unhappily with Belmondo in the sentimental melodrama Un Homme qui me plaît; and in Partir, revenir she was the jealous mother Hélène Rivière, who commits suicide after denouncing her daughter to the Nazis.
Other more notable roles were as Anna, a career woman torn between her husband and her lover in La Proie pour l'ombre; as a vulnerable woman of fading beauty murdering a corrupt, exploitative doctor in Traitement de choc; as the neurotic Kay discovering love in Trois chambres à Manhattan; as a lonely woman finding companionship with a telephone caller in Cause toujours . . . tu m'intéresses!; as Colette the unhappy mistress of a gangster in Adieu Blaireau; and again as a desperately lonely woman on the point of breakdown in Il y a des jours . . . et des lunes. Maternal roles are found in Le Coeur à l'envers, where she struggles with incestuous desires; in Liste noire, where she seeks to avenge her daughter's death at the hands of gangsters; and in Souvenirs, souvenirs, where she has to cope with a difficult teenage daughter.
It is perhaps in her lighter roles as an exuberant comic actress that Annie Girardot has enjoyed most popular appeal. In Les Novices she was Mona Lisa, a kindly but cynical prostitute using an ambulance as a traveling brothel; in La Bonne Soupe she was Marie-Paule, the irrepressible orphan who seduces her way to the top; and in Erotissimo she portrayed the inventive housewife Annie rekindling her husband's flagging sexual interest. Furthermore, her verve and professionalism have frequently rescued indifferent films.
Girardot has appeared in more than 60 films and has become one of France's few box-office stars on a popularity level with Belmondo, Delon, and Montand, and as critically acclaimed as Moreau or Signoret. Equally adept at strong social drama (as evidenced by her work with Cayatte and Visconti) and light distinctive comedy (as in her work for de Broca), she is the epitome of a French star.
—R. F. Cousins, updated by Kelly Otter