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Michèle Morgan
Michèle Morgan - The Chase.jpg
A publicity photo for The Chase
Simone Renée Roussel

(1920-02-29)29 February 1920
Died 20 December 2016(2016-12-20) (aged 96)
Meudon, Hauts-de-Seine, Île-de-France, France
Resting place Montparnasse Cemetery, Paris, France
Occupation Actress
Years active 1935–1999
William Marshall
(m. 1942; div. 1948)
Henri Vidal
(m. 1950; died 1959)
(m. 1960; died 2006)
Children Mike Marshall
Relatives Sarah Marshall (granddaughter)

Michèle Morgan (French: [miʃɛl mɔʁɡan]; née Simone Renée Roussel; 29 February 1920 – 20 December 2016) was a French film actress, who was a leading lady for three decades in both French cinema and Hollywood features. She is considered to have been one of the great French actresses of the 20th century. Morgan was the inaugural winner of the Best Actress Award at the Cannes Film Festival. In 1992, she was given an honorary César Award for her contributions to French cinema.

Early life

Morgan was born Simone Renée Roussel in Neuilly-sur-Seine, Hauts-de-Seine, a wealthy suburb of Paris. She grew up in Dieppe, Seine-Maritime, France.


Morgan left home at the age of 15 for Paris determined to become an actress. She took acting lessons from René Simon while serving as an extra in several films to pay for her drama classes. It was then that she took the stage name "Michèle Morgan". She argued that she did not have the body type of a Simone, and "Morgan" sounded more Hollywood-friendly.

Morgan was first noticed by director Marc Allégret, who offered her a major role in the film Gribouille (1937), opposite Raimu. Then came Le Quai des brumes (1938) directed by Marcel Carné (1938), opposite Jean Gabin, and Remorques (1941) directed by Jean Grémillon.

Michele Morgan in The Vintage 2
From the trailer for The Vintage (1957)

Upon the invasion of France in 1940 by the Germans, Morgan left for the United States and Hollywood where she was contracted to RKO Pictures in 1941. Her career there proved rather disappointing, apart from Joan of Paris (1942) opposite Paul Henreid, and Higher and Higher (1943) opposite Frank Sinatra. She was tested and strongly considered for the female lead in Casablanca but RKO would not release her for the amount of money that Warner Bros. offered. Morgan did work for Warners, however, in Passage to Marseille (1944) with Humphrey Bogart.

Michèle Morgan Césars
Morgan in 1995

After the war, Morgan returned to France and quickly resumed her career with the film La Symphonie Pastorale (1946) directed by Jean Delannoy, which earned her the Best Actress award at the Cannes Film Festival. Her other films from this period include; Carol Reed's The Fallen Idol (1948), Fabiola (1949), The Proud and the Beautiful (1953) by Yves Allégret, Les Grandes Manœuvres (1955) by René Clair and Marie-Antoinette reine de France (1956). She continued working in films throughout the 1960s, such as in Lost Command (1966), a version of Les Centurions. In the 1970s, she virtually retired from her acting career, then made only occasional appearances in film, television and theatre.

For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Morgan has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1645 Vine Street. In 1969, the government of France awarded her the Légion d'Honneur. For her long service to the French motion picture industry, in 1992 she was given an Honorary César Award. In 1996, she also received the Career Golden Lion for lifetime achievement at the Venice Film Festival.

Morgan took up painting in the 1960s. She had a solo exhibition, "Artistes En Lumière à Paris", from 2 March to 30 April 2009, at the Espace Cardin in Paris. In 1977 she released her memoir, titled With Those Eyes (Avec ces yeux-là).

Personal life and death

While in Hollywood, Morgan married William Marshall (1917–1994), in 1942, with whom she had a son, Mike Marshall (1944–2005). Morgan had built and owned a house at 10050 Cielo Drive. Morgan and Marshall divorced in 1948. She married French actor Henri Vidal (1919–1959) in 1950. She remained with him until his death in 1959. She then lived with film director and actor/writer Gérard Oury until his death in 2006.

Morgan died on 20 December 2016, aged 96, in Meudon, France of natural causes. Her funeral was held at the Église Saint-Pierre in Neuilly-sur-Seine on 23 December 2016, and she was buried at the Montparnasse Cemetery.

Despite living to the age of 96, she technically only had 24 birthdays due to being born on 29 February.


Year Title Role Director Notes
1935 Mademoiselle Mozart The trainer of the white elephant Yvan Noé credited as Simone Morgan
1937 Gribouille Nathalie Roguin Marc Allégret remade as The Lady in Question in 1940
1938 Orage Françoise Massart Marc Allégret with Charles Boyer
Port of Shadows Nelly Marcel Carné with Jean Gabin
Nightclub Hostess Suzy Albert Valentin written by Charles Spaak
1939 Coral Reefs Lilian White Maurice Gleize with Jean Gabin
Musicians of the Sky Lieutenant Saulnier Georges Lacombe with Michel Simon
1940 Stormy Waters Catherine Jean Grémillon based on a novel by Roger Vercel
The Heart of a Nation Marie Froment-Léonard Julien Duvivier with Raimu
1941 My Life with Caroline "Annette" (uncredited) Lewis Milestone written by John Van Druten
1942 La Loi du nord Jacqueline Bert Jacques Feyder based on a novel by Maurice Constantin-Weyer
Joan of Paris Joan Robert Stevenson with Paul Henreid
1943 Two Tickets to London Jeanne Edwin L. Marin with Alan Curtis
Higher and Higher Millie Pico alias Paméla Drake Tim Whelan Frank Sinatra's film debut
1944 Passage to Marseille Paula Michael Curtiz with Humphrey Bogart
1946 The Chase Lorna Roman Arthur Ripley with Robert Cummings
Pastoral Symphony Gertrude (the young blind woman) Jean Delannoy with Pierre Blanchar
1947 The Fallen Idol Julie Carol Reed with Ralph Richardson and Bobby Henrey.
1948 To the Eyes of Memory Claire Magny Jean Delannoy with Jean Marais
1949 The Fighting Gladiator Fabiola Alessandro Blasetti with Henri Vidal
Here Is the Beauty Jeanne Morel Jean-Paul Le Chanois based on a novel by Vicki Baum
1950 The Glass Castle Evelyne Lorin-Bertal René Clément two versions, one filmed in Italian
The Strange Madame X Irène Voisin-Larive Jean Grémillon with Henri Vidal
The Naked Heart Maria Chapdelaine Marc Allégret based on the novel by Louis Hémon
1951 The Seven Deadly Sins Anne-Marie de Pallières Claude Autant-Lara episode "Pride"
1952 The Moment of Truth Madeleine Richard Jean Delannoy with Jean Gabin
1953 The Proud and the Beautiful Nelly Yves Allégret with Gérard Philipe
1954 Love, Soldiers and Women Joan of Arc Jean Delannoy episode "Jeanne"
Obsession Hélène Giovanni Jean Delannoy based on a novel by Cornell Woolrich
Napoléon Joséphine de Beauharnais Sacha Guitry Daniel Gélin/Raymond Pellegrin as Napoléon
1955 The Grand Maneuver Marie-Louise Rivière René Clair with Gérard Philipe
Marguerite of the Night Marguerite Claude Autant-Lara with Yves Montand
Marie Antoinette Queen of France Marie-Antoinette, Queen of France Jean Delannoy with Richard Todd
If Paris Were Told to Us Gabrielle d'Estrées Sacha Guitry portraying the mistress of Henry IV of France
1956 Oasis Françoise Lignières Yves Allégret with Pierre Brasseur
1957 The Vintage Léonne Morel Jeffrey Hayden with Mel Ferrer
There's Always a Price Tag Hélène Fréminger Denys de La Patellière with Daniel Gélin and Peter van Eyck
1958 The Mirror Has Two Faces Marie-Josée Tardivet, Pierre's wife André Cayatte with Bourvil and Ivan Desny
Maxime Jacqueline Monneron Henri Verneuil with Charles Boyer
Girls for the Summer Micheline Gianni Franciolini comedy with Alberto Sordi
1959 Menschen im Hotel La Grusinskaïa Gottfried Reinhardt with O. W. Fischer
Winter Holidays Steffa Tardier Camillo Mastrocinque with Georges Marchal
The Wretches Thelma Rooland Robert Hossein with Olivier Hussenot
Why Do You Come So Late? Catherine Ferrer Henri Decoin with Henri Vidal
1960 Fortunat Juliette Valcourt Alex Joffé title character played by Bourvil
1961 Three Faces of Sin Renée Plège François Villiers with Jean-Claude Brialy
The Lions Are Loose Cécile Henri Verneuil with Jean-Claude Brialy
1962 Landru Célestine Buisson Claude Chabrol with Charles Denner
Meetings Bella Krastner Philippe Agostini with Gabriele Ferzetti
Crime Does Not Pay Jeanne Hugues Gérard Oury episode "The Hugues Case"
The Winner As herself François Reichenbach Louis Delluc Prize, Golden Leopard
1963 Be Careful Ladies Denise Duparc André Hunebelle with Paul Meurisse
Web of Fear Constance François Villiers with Dany Saval
1964 Marked Eyes Florence Robert Hossein starring the film's director
The Last Steps Yolande Simonet Jacques Robin with Jean-Louis Trintignant
The Scapegoat Princess Sofia Duccio Tessari based on a novel by Francesco Dall'Ongaro
1965 Tell Me Whom to Kill Geneviève Montanet Étienne Périer with Paul Hubschmid
1966 Lost Command The Countess of Clairfond Mark Robson with Anthony Quinn
1967 La Bien-aimée Fanny Dréal Jacques Doniol-Valcroze TV film
The Diary of an Innocent Boy The Countess Michel Deville with Pierre Clémenti and Michel Piccoli
1975 Cat and Mouse Madame Richard Claude Lelouch with Serge Reggiani
1986 Le Tiroir secret Colette Dutilleul-Lemarchand Édouard Molinaro, Roger Gillioz, Michel Boisrond, Nadine Trintignant TV miniseries, 6 episodes
1990 Everybody's Fine A woman in the train Giuseppe Tornatore with Marcello Mastroianni


The former President of Chile Michelle Bachelet was named after Michèle Morgan.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Michèle Morgan para niños

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