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August 9, 1938|
|Died||March 25, 1975
Michèle Girardon (August 9, 1938 – March 25, 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 1961 LIFE magazine profile of the actress. 1963 proved to be her most active year, with several avante 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.
During the 1960s, Girardon became romantically involved with a married Spaniard nobleman and notorious wastrel, José Luis de Vilallonga, whom she had first met on the set of Les Amants. 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 March 25, 1975, and is interred near Paris in the Cimetière de Bagneux, Hauts de Seine.
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