Clouzot, Vera (1921–1960)
Clouzot, Vera (1921–1960)
Brazilian-born actress who starred in several French films directed by her husband Henri-Georges Clouzot. Born Vera Amado Gibson in Brazil in 1921; died on December 15, 1960; daughter of Gilberto Amado and Alice de Rego Barros Gibson; married Leo Lapara, in 1938; married Henri-Georges Clouzot, on January 15, 1950.
Vera Clouzot was born in 1921 in Brazil, the daughter of Gilberto Amado and Alice de Rego Barros Gibson. Her father was a writer and politician who also served as a Brazilian representative to the United Nations. A cousin, Jorge Amado, became one of Brazil's greatest novelists of the 20th century. Vera married a Brazilian comedian, Leo Lapara, in 1938 and spent several years touring the Americas and Europe with a troupe managed by Louis Jouvert, owner of the Athénée in Paris. In 1949, however, Vera divorced, tired of sacrificing her marital life to Leo's work. She reportedly complained to him: "It's not with me you are married. It's with the boss."
Shortly thereafter, she met French film director Henri-Georges Clouzot and became a "script girl" on the set of Miquette et sa mère. They married on January 15, 1950, shortly after he completed Miquette et sa mère and Retour a la vie. A visit to Brazil followed. Accompanied by Clouzot's film crew, they arrived in Rio de Janeiro on April 17, 1950, on a delayed honeymoon.
Returning to France, she became well-known as the female lead in many of his subsequent films. Her first role was Linda, the servant girl who loved Mario in La salaire de la peur (The Wages of Fear, 1952). Perhaps her most famous performance came in Les diaboliques (The Fiends, 1954), in which she portrayed Christina Delasalle, a former South American heiress whose
husband uses her money to operate a boarding school. Because of his cruelty and treachery, Christina and her husband's mistress (played by Simone Signoret ) plot and carry out his murder, with unforeseen consequences. Throughout her marriage, Vera read constantly, searching for material suitable for new film projects. Her husband's films were usually thrillers, often combining philosophical themes with suspense. As was true with many actors, Vera found her husband to be a hard taskmaster as a director.
While filming La salaire de la peur, Vera suffered a pulmonary edema, and she experienced recurring problems thereafter. In pain and emotional distress, she turned to morphine and other opium derivatives. Neither Henri-Georges nor psychiatrists could conquer her addiction. The couple gradually became estranged. Not yet 40, on December 15, 1960, she died alone in the George V Hotel in Paris, victim of a heart attack.
Bocquet, José-Louis, and Marc Godin. Henri Georges Clouzot cinéaste. Sèvre: La Sirène, 1993.
Lacassin, Francis, and Ramond Bellour. Le Procès Clouzot. Paris: Eric Losfeld, Le Terrain Vague, 1964.
Pilard, Philippe. Henri-Georges Clouzot. Paris: Editions Seghers, 1969.
"Vera Clouzot," in The New York Times. Vol. 38, no. 4, December 16, 1960.
Kendall W. Brown , Professor of History, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah