Simone Signoret (in French) (March 25, 1921 - September 30, 1985) is a beloved Academy Award winning legend of French cinema and widely hailed as the greatest French actress in film history. She became the first French person to win an Academy Award in 1959 for her role in Room at the Top. She holds an immortal place in France for her groundbreaking contributions to the cinema. In her lifetime she also received a BAFTA, an Emmy, Golden Globe, Cannes Film Festival recognition and the Silver Bear for Best Actress.
Signoret's sensual features and earthy nature led to type-casting and she was often seen in prostitute roles. She won considerable attention in La Ronde (1950), a film which was banned briefly in New York as immoral. She won further raves, including an acting award from the British Film Academy, for her portrayal of yet another prostitute in Jacques Becker's Casque d'or (1951). She went on to appear in many notable films in France during the 1950s, including Thérèse Raquin (1953), directed by Marcel Carné, Les Diaboliques (1954), and Les Sorcières de Salem (1956), based on Arthur Miller's The Crucible.
In 1958, Signoret went to England to film Room at the Top (1959), which won her numerous awards including the Best Female Performance Prize at Cannes and the Academy Award for Best Actress. She was the only French cinema actress to receive an Oscar until Juliette Binoche in 1997 (Supporting Actress) and Marion Cotillard in 2008 (Best Actress), and the first woman to win the award appearing in a foreign film. She was offered films in Hollywood but turned them down and continued to work in France and England. She played opposite Laurence Olivier in Term of Trial (1962). She did return to America for Ship of Fools (1965) which earned her another Oscar nomination and she went on to appear in several Hollywood films before returning to France in 1969.
Her one attempt at Shakespeare, playing Lady Macbeth opposite Alec Guinness at the Royal Court Theatre in London in 1966 proved to be ill-advised, although some critics were harsher and one referred to her English as "impossibly Gallic".
In her later years, she was often criticized for gaining weight and letting her looks go but Signoret, who was never concerned with glamour, ignored the insults and continued giving finely etched performances. She won more acclaim for her portrayal of a weary madam (Madame Rosa) in La Vie devant soi (1977) and as an unmarried sister who unknowingly falls in love with her paralyzed brother via anonymous correspondence in I Sent a Letter to my Love (1980).
Her memoirs, Nostalgia Isn't What It Used To Be, were published in 1978. She also wrote a novel, Adieu Volodya, published in 1985, the year of her death.
First married to the filmmaker Yves Allégret from 1944 to 1949, with whom she had a daughter Catherine Allégret, herself an actress. Her second marriage was to the Italian-born French actor Yves Montand in 1950, a union which lasted until her death.
In Playboy she was shown once in an embrace with Robert Mitchum. She was nude above the waist, and the magazine's caption used the term "a big bare hug."
|1942||Boléro||Une employée de maison de couture||uncredited|
|Les Visiteurs du soir||Extra||uncredited|
|Le Prince charmant|
|1943||Adieu Léonard||La gitane||uncredited|
|Le Voyageur de la Toussaint||Extra||uncredited|
|1944||L'Ange de la nuit||Une étudiante||uncredited|
|Le Mort ne reçoit plus||La maitresse de Firmin|
|Service de nuit||La danseuse à la taverne|
|Béatrice devant le désir|
|1945||La Boîte aux rêves||Une femme||uncredited|
|Le Couple idéal||Annette|
|Les Démons de l'aube||Lily, la cabaretière|
|1948||Impasse des deux anges||Marianne|
|Against the Wind||Michele Dennis|
|Gunman in the Streets||Denise Vernon||a French version was also filmed as Le Traqué|
|La Ronde||Leocadie, the Prostitute|
|1951||Ombre et lumière||Isabelle Leritz|
|Sans laisser d'adresse||Une journaliste||uncredited|
|1952||Casque d'or||Marie 'Casque d'Or'||BAFTA Award|
|1953||Thérèse Raquin||Thérèse Raquin|
|1955||Mutter Courage und ihre Kinder||Yvette, Lagerhure|
|Les Diaboliques||Nicole Horner||Diabolique|
|1956||Un matin comme les autres||Janine Alix|
|La Mort en ce jardin||Djin|
|1957||Les Sorcières de Salem||Elisabeth Procter||BAFTA Award|
|1959||Room at the Top||Alice Aisgill||Academy Award for Best Actress; BAFTA Award;|
Nominated - Golden Globe
|1960||Adua e le compagne||Adua Giovannetti|
|1960||Les Mauvais coups||Roberte|
|Amours célèbres||Jenny||segment "Jenny de Lacour"|
|1962||Il Giorno più corto||Unconfirmed|
|Term of Trial||Anna|
|1963||Dragées au poivre||Genevieve|
|Le Jour et l'heure||Therese Dutheil|
|1965||Compartiment tueurs||Eliane Darès|
|Ship of Fools||La Contessa||Nominated - Academy Award for Best Actress;|
Nominated - BAFTA Award; Nominated - Golden Globe
|1966||Paris brûle-t-il?||La patronne du bistrot/Cafe Owner||Is Paris Burning?|
|The Deadly Affair||Elsa Fennan||Nominated - BAFTA Award|
|1967||Games||Lisa Schindler||Nominated - BAFTA Award|
|1968||The Sea Gull||Arkadina, an actress|
|L'Armée des ombres||Mathilde|
|Mr. Freedom||uncredited cameo|
|1970||L'Aveu||Mme L. aka Lise London|
|1971||La Veuve Couderc||Veuve Couderc Tati|
|Le Chat||Clémence Bouin|
|Comptes à rebours||Léa|
|1973||Rude journée pour la reine||Jeanne|
|Les Granges brulées||Rose|
|1975||La Chair de l'orchidée||Lady Vamos|
|1976||Police Python 357||Thérèse Ganay|
|1977||La Vie devant soi||Madame Rosa|
|1978||Judith Therpauve||Judith Therpauve|
|1982||Guy de Maupassant||Maupassant's mother|
|L'étoile du nord||Mme Louise Baron|
France Cannes Film Festival
César Awards, France
Italy David di Donatello Awards, Italy