Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Born in Bordeaux, France, Darrieux was the daughter of a medical doctor who was at the time serving with the French Army during World War I but who later died unexpectedly when she was seven years old. Raised in the city of Paris she had a good singing voice and was musically gifted, studying the cello at the "Conservatoire de musique. " At age 13, she auditioned for the role of a young girl in the musical film Le Bal and earned the part. Her youthful beauty combined with her singing and dancing ability in the 1931 film immediately led to numerous other film offers and she went on to a hugely successful and enduring career.
In 1935, Darrieux married director/screenwriter Henri Decoin who, after she had made more than two dozen successful films in France, encouraged her to try Hollywood. Offered numerous scripts, in 1938 she accepted a lucrative offer from Universal Studios to star opposite Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. in the sophisticated comedy The Rage of Paris . Although the film was well received by audiences and critics, World War II briefly interrupted her career. However, under the German occupation of France she continued to perform, a decision that was severely criticized by her compatriots. She fell in love with Porfirio Rubirosa, a Dominican Republic diplomat posted to Paris and after divorcing her husband, they married in 1942. Rubirosa was a notorious womanizer and the less than happy marriage ended within a few years and officially with a divorce in 1947. Rubirosa immediately married the American tobacco heiress, Doris Duke and Darrieux married her last husband, Pierre Louis.
At the end of World War II, Darrieux kept her successful career going and eventually accepted another offer to appear in a Hollywood production. Once again she received very positive reviews for her performance in the 1951 MGM musical, Rich, Young and Pretty . Although she at once returned to her native France, the following year director Joseph L. Mankiewicz lured her back to Hollywood to star opposite James Mason in the acclaimed 1952 spy thriller 5 Fingers. Back home, she appeared in the 1954 French drama Le Rouge et le noir opposite Gérard Philipe, one of the country's biggest box office draws. The next year she starred as Lady Constance Chatterly in L'Amant de lady Chatterley (Lady Chatterly's Lover). Based on the D.H. Lawrence novel and the play by Philippe de Rothschild, it was adapted for the screen by co-writer and director, Marc Allégret. Due to its sexual content, both the book and the film were banned in the United States.
Approaching the age of forty, she returned to Hollywood for a supporting role in United Artists' 1956 big budget epic Alexander the Great starring Richard Burton and Claire Bloom. Despite a strong cast and a competent director, the film was a critical and box office failure and it was the last English-language film she would make in America. However, in 1961 she went to England at the request of director Lewis Gilbert to star opposite Kenneth More in The Greengage Summer . Successfully adapting to age, and a recognizable talent throughout Europe, she also made films in Germany, Italy, Spain, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. Throughout her career, her singing voice proved a positive and during the 1960s she sang at concerts and did recordings for a French record label.
Although primarily a film actress, Darrieux appeared on the stage and in 1970, she replaced Katharine Hepburn in the Broadway production "Coco". All during the 1970s and through to the 21st century, Danielle Darrieux has continued to act in a remarkable career spanning eight decades.
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