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A Famous Star Anouk Aimee Dies at the Age of 92

Anouk Aimée, a famous leading lady for some of Europe’s most renowned directors, died at 92. Throughout her eight-decade career, Aimée participated in scores of films, including Claude Lelouch’s A Man and a Woman, for which she received an Academy Award nomination.

Sébastien Perrolat of the TimeArt agency told AFP that she died on Tuesday at her Paris home. Her daughter, Manuela Papatakis, stated that she was “right by her side” when her mother died. She posted a black-and-white portrait of Aimée on Instagram, writing, “With my daughter, Galaad, and my granddaughter, Mila, we have great sadness to announce the departure of my mother, Anouk Aimée.” 

French Culture Minister Rachida Dati said, “We bid farewell to a world-famous icon, to a great actress of French cinema who took on roles for some of the biggest names, such as (Jacques) Demy, Lelouch, and (Federico) Fellini.”

Anouk Aimée dies

Who is Anouk Aimee?

Nicole Françoise Florence Dreyfus, also known as Aimée, was born in Paris in 1932. Her father was Jewish, but she was reared Catholic. When German troops marched into the city eight years later, her family relocated her to the countryside, hoping she would be safer, and changed her name, according to AFP. She made her screen debut in her early teens in the 1946 film La Maison Sur La Mer and took on her character’s name, Anouk.

French artist and filmmaker Jacques Prevert persuaded her to change her surname to Aimée, which means “loved.” She was in high demand for roles in both Italian and domestic cinema. Her major break came in 1960 with Fellini’s arthouse film La Dolce Vita, one of the most revered films in Italian cinematic history. Three years later, she appeared in his picture, 8½.

Her prominent role in Lelouch’s 1966 film A Man and a Woman is claimed to have transformed her into a symbol of doomed love. Aimée’s performance garnered her a Golden Globe, a Bafta, and an Oscar nomination for best actress. It was the first time an actor or actress received an Oscar nomination for a performance in French. She lost to Elizabeth Taylor, who won Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? However, A Man and a Woman won the award for best foreign-language picture. Aimée appeared in a total of 70 films during her career. In 2002, she was given an honorary César, France’s national cinema prize.

She walked the Cannes Film Festival red carpet in 2019 for the premiere of Lelouch’s sequel to A Man and a Woman, in which she and her original co-star Jean-Louis Trintignant reprised their roles, now in their 80s. Aimée was known for her beauty as well as her acting abilities.

According to a 1995 Empire magazine poll, she was regarded as “one of the 100 sexiest stars in film history”. Aimee had one daughter, Manuela, with film director Nico Papatakis, one of four spouses in her life. She also married composer Pierre Barouh, who penned the A Man and a Woman theme tune. Her fourth spouse was British actor Albert Finney, whom she married in August 1970 in a low-key ceremony that, according to the New York Times, did not include him giving her a wedding ring “as a matter of personal taste.” During their seven-year marriage, the couple lived in London.

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