Jeanne Moreau, star of ‘Jules et Jim’ dies aged 89

Award-winning French actor worked with Orson Welles and other acclaimed directors

Jeanne Moreau won awards at the Cannes Film Festival and an honorary Oscar. Photograph: Christophe Karaba/EPA

French actor Jeanne Moreau, a smoky-voiced femme fatale whose award-winning, seven-decade career included work with some of the world's most acclaimed directors, has died aged 89.

The French president’s office announced her death in a statement without providing a cause, and an assistant to her agent confirmed the death but would not provide details.

This file photograph taken on January 24th, 1960, shows French actress Jeanne Moreau as she poses in Paris. Photograph: Getty Images

Outspoken and politically active, Moreau starred in more than 100 films, recorded albums and worked well into her eighties.

She won an honorary Oscar in 1998 for lifetime achievement as well as French cinema and theatre awards, and presided over the jury at the Cannes Film Festival twice.


Moreau was perhaps best known for her performance as Catherine in Francois Truffaut's 1962 love triangle film Jules et Jim, where two friends vied for her affections.

She also performed in films by Orson Welles, Peter Brook, Wim Wenders and other international directors.

Moreau starred in her last feature film in 2015, a French comedy called My Friends' Talent.

She had a brief marriage to William Friedkin, the Oscar-winning director of film classics The French Connection and The Exorcist, and had a high-profile, five-year relationship with designer Pierre Cardin, described by both as a "true love", though they were never married.

President Emmanuel Macron said Moreau epitomised her art like few others, and praised her for going beyond her earlier roles as a screen siren to embrace other genres, starring in comedies and action films.

“That was her freedom ... always rebellious against the established order,” he said in a statement.

Mr Macron celebrated a “spark in her eye that defied reverence and was an invitation to insolence, to liberty, to this whirlpool of life that she loved so much, and that she made us love”.