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Anouk Aimée, an iconic actress and the true embodiment of French grace, passed away this Tuesday, June 18, 2024, at the age of 92. Her daughter, Manuela Papatakis, announced the sad news on Instagram, specifying that she was by her side during her final moments.

Born Françoise Dreyfus on April 27, 1932, in Paris, Anouk Aimée was destined for a career in the spotlight. The daughter of an actress and a poet, she grew up in an artistic environment that fueled her passion for acting. At the age of 14, she made her first appearance in front of the camera in Henri Calef’s La Maison sous la mer in 1947, adopting the name of her character, Anouk, to which the poet Jacques Prévert suggested adding the surname Aimée. A fitting name for someone who would be loved and admired by millions of spectators worldwide.

After secondary education in England and training in drama and dance in Paris, Anouk Aimée’s career took off with significant roles in André Cayatte’s Les Amants de Vérone in 1948 and especially Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita in 1960. This film catapulted her to international stardom, with her grace and enigmatic beauty captivating audiences.

In 1966, Anouk Aimée cemented her place in the legend of the 7th art with her masterful performance in Claude Lelouch’s A Man and A Woman alongside Jean-Louis Trintignant. Her performance earned her a Golden Globe for Best Dramatic Actress and an Academy Award nomination. The film, shot on the beaches of Deauville, became a timeless classic with its unforgettable music by Francis Lai, inseparable from the actress’s image.

Throughout her exceptional career spanning over 70 years, Anouk Aimée explored a wide range of genres with brilliance, acting in nearly 80 films under the direction of the greatest filmmakers. From Jacques Demy (Lola in 1961) to Federico Fellini ( in 1963), and including George Cukor, Robert Altman and Bernardo Bertolucci, all were captivated by her talent and magnetic screen presence. In 1980, she received the Best Actress Award at Cannes for Marco Bellocchio’s Le Saut dans le vide, and in 2002, she was honored with an honorary César for her entire career.

A true fashion icon, Anouk Aimée embodied French elegance and femininity. Her mysterious charm and enchanting aura made her an inspiring muse for many artists. Her timeless beauty and refined style, often accentuated by a signature accessory like a scarf or glasses, influenced generations of women worldwide.

In her private life, the actress experienced several love stories. She was married four times, notably to filmmaker Nico Papatakis, with whom she had a daughter, Manuela, singer-songwriter Pierre Barouh, and British actor Albert Finney from 1970 to 1978. These unions reflected her passion for life and her love for the arts.

Mother of two daughters, Anouk Aimée was also an engaged woman, advocating for the protection of nature and animals. Discreet and averse to scandals, she maintained an aura of mystery that only added to her legend. Her luminous personality and enchanting aura made her an essential figure in French cinema, a star whose brilliance never faded despite the years.

Claude Lelouch, who directed her in some of her most memorable films, paid an emotional tribute, aptly summarizing their artistic and friendly relationship: “Anouk, my Nounouk, has left us… She was my companion on the road, my lifelong friend. She gave me all my chances and said yes when, as a young filmmaker, others said no… Her silhouette and grace will forever be etched on a beach in Normandy.”

This beach in Deauville, where the sweet air of A Man and A Woman will always resonate, bears witness to the undying love the public will forever hold for this exceptional actress. And how can we forget the legendary line uttered by Anouk Aimée in the film: “There are people who should never have met. And others who should never have parted.” A phrase that takes on special resonance today, as if it were destined to seal the eternal bond between the actress and her audience.

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