Sadness: Jeanne Moreau has died, at 89

Sadness: Jeanne Moreau has died, at 89


norman lebrecht

July 31, 2017

Wonderful actor. Unusual singer.

Jules et Jim (1961) was for years my all-time favourite film.

Jeanne Moreau,s 89, was found dead today in her Paris apartment.



  • Frank says:

    Few may be aware that Jeanne Moreau made one recording for Deutsche Grammophon, in the early 90’s, narrating the wonderful text of Poulenc’s ‘L’histoire de Babar le petit éléphant’. This was made at a time when DG still had many brilliant creative types at the helm. I just found that this Poulenc and Satie recording is still available online. It was originally created by their local French company which legend has was one of the group’s creative powerhouses back then.

  • Jonathan Sutherland says:

    The loss of such a superb artist as Jeanne Moreau is indeed tragic.
    The depth of bile, vengeance and venom she displayed as Mahaut d’Artois in Les Rois Maudits was pure inspiration for any number of latterday music commentators.

  • Lois Silverstein says:

    Ah, Jeanne Moreau une genie! Jules et Jim set off trails of feelings and thoughts that grew us out of our narrow views of life and love and womanhood and brought us into a far richer tapestry than Hollywood etc would have dreamed.

  • Delphine1962 says:

    Thank you, Norman, for posting this tribute.

    Moreau, in whatever part, had the unique ability to appeal to both senses, and universally to both men, who adored her, and women, who understood her. And all this within the guarded discipline of the role – as both an immensely skilled technical actor, inhabiting the character with deceptive, almost insouciant ease, and as a strangely detached, wayward presence. Those long, silent, observant walks in Antonioni’s La Notte and Ascenceur pour L’Echafaud belong in the realm beyond acting.

    Moreau, of course had the great fortune to be working at a magical time in cinema, and acted as a magnet to the best, with Malle, Truffaut, Bunuel, Welles, Antonioni, Fassbinder (unforgettable in Querelle with her performance of “Each Man Kills the Thing He Loves”, which rivals “Le Torbillon”), Losey – and Tony Richardson too (his “Sailor from Gibralta” has some wonderful things in it), all drawing something quite exceptional from her complete ‘availability’ as an actor. I hope that one day someone will be able to piece together Losey’s “Eve” in the way he intended it to be cut, which will show how marvellous that film is.

    Although most will remember Moreau as a film actress, I have a memory of Moreau on stage, in the “Le Récit de la servante Zerline” by Heiner Broch, which I saw in Frankfurt at the Theater am Turm in 1988. This piece, a monologue, is one of the most extraordinary things I have ever seen in the medium; the mimed strike in it as shockingly powerful in the theatre as Fassbinder captured it on film.

    A remarkable, irreplaceable actress and presence.