Sunday, 24 April 2011

The original Catwoman

Yesterday was the centenary (or possibly the 101st anniversary, as there is some dispute over the actual date she was born) of the birth of the charismatic and glamorous French actress Simone Simon.

Evidently well-travelled - she lived in Madagascar, Budapest, Turin, Berlin, Marseilles and Paris at various stages - the exotic young Mme Simon was eventually whisked to Hollywood by none other than Daryl F. Zanuck to make her fortune. Unfortunately he sacked her, having no time for her Gallic temperament...

Nevertheless she went on to star in movies alongside some of the greats of the day, including Janet Gaynor, Loretta Young, Constance Bennett and James Stewart before - after a hiatus back in France - landing the role for which she is probably best remembered, as star of the original 1942 movie Cat People. This was a part she was born to play, with her feline looks and reputation as a seductress (among her alleged conquests were George Gershwin and WW2 spy Dusko Popov).

She never quite recovered from being portrayed as the mysterious and deadly vamp, however, and eventually retired from cinema in the 1970s. She died only six years ago, at the ripe old age of 93!

A divine creature.

New York Times obituary


  1. I have never seen that photo - she looks a little drunk, but on reading about the flop play she was in at the time I am not surprised... Jx


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