Michèle Girardon

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Michèle Girardon
Michèle Girardon.jpg
Born (1938-08-09)9 August 1938
Lyon, France
Died 25 March 1975(1975-03-25) (aged 36)
Lyon, France
Cause of death Suicide
Resting place Cimetière parisien de Bagneux
Other names Michele Girardon
Years active 1956–1971
Partner(s) José Luis de Vilallonga (1957–1972)

Michèle Girardon (9 August 1938 – 25 March 1975), sometimes credited as Michele Girardon, was a French actress.


Born in Lyon, France, Girardon began acting as early as 1956, and had a small but noticeable role as a deaf-mute beauty in director Luis Buñuel's La mort en ce jardin (Death in the Garden) (1956). She soon became prominent in a host of films, including those of notable directors of the French New Wave. She is probably best known as an actress for her work in director Louis Malle's Les Amants (The Lovers) in 1958, and the 1961 Howard Hawks production of Hatari! starring John Wayne and Hardy Krüger; for the latter, as she spoke no English when cast in the role, she taught herself English while on the set, according to a July 1961 Life magazine profile of the actress.[1] The same article stated she was signed to a five–year contract with Paramount Studios. 1963 proved to be her most active year, with several avant garde films to her credit including Pierre Kast's Vacances Portugaises (Portuguese Vacations), André Cayatte's experimental 'paired' films Jean-Marc ou La vie conjugale (Anatomy of a Marriage: My Days with Jean-Marc), and Françoise ou La vie conjugale (Anatomy of a Marriage: My Days with Françoise), and director Éric Rohmer's La Boulangère de Monceau (The Girl at the Monceau Bakery).

Giardon also worked in television. In 1967, she played Nicole in the first season of Les Chevaliers du ciel. The success of this series brought her a very high level of popularity.

Later years and death

During the 1960s, Girardon became romantically involved with a married Spanish nobleman, occasional actor and notorious wastrel, José Luis de Vilallonga, whom she had first met on the set of Les Amants. The couple lived together throughout much of the 1960s.[2] By 1971, Girardon's acting career was essentially over, and after finally obtaining his divorce in 1972, de Villalonga ended their relationship in order to marry another woman. Girardon never married or had children and became increasingly despondent. She committed suicide via an overdose of sleeping pills at the age of 36 in Lyon on 25 March 1975. She is interred near Paris in the Cimetière de Bagneux, Hauts de Seine.[3]

Selected filmography

Year Title Role Notes
1956 Death in the Garden María Castin French title: La mort en ce jardin
1958 The Lovers The secretary French title: Les amants
1959 The Sign of Leo Dominique Laurent French title: Le Signe du Lion
1961 White Slave Ship Anna Italian title: L'ammutinamento
1961 Prey for the Shadows Anita French title: La Proie pour l'ombre
1962 Hatari! Brandy de la Court Credited as Michele Girardon
1963 The Bakery Girl of Monceau Sylvie Short film
French title: La Boulangère de Monceau
1964 Devil of the Desert Against the Son of Hercules Soraya Alternative titles: Anthar l'invincibile
Anthar the Invincible
Soraya Reina Del Desierto
1964 The Magnificent Cuckold Cristiana Italian title: Il magnifico cornuto
1965 Die Pyramide des Sonnengottes Josefa
1965 Der Schatz der Azteken English title: Treasure of the Aztecs
1966 Tendre Voyou (fr) Girl at the Ritz
1968 I'll Sell My Skin Dearly Georgina Bennett Italian title: Vendo cara la pelle
1971 Good Little Girls Madame de Fleurville French title: Les Petites Filles modèles


  1. ^ "And Now Michele". Life. Time Inc. 51 (3): 80. 21 July 1961. ISSN 0024-3019. 
  2. ^ "José Luis de Vilallonga". The Telegraph. telegraph.co.uk. 8 October 2007. Retrieved 26 February 2017. 
  3. ^ Wilson, Scott (2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons (3 ed.). McFarland. p. 282. ISBN 1-476-62599-9. 

External links

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