Marie Bell (23 December 1900 – 14 August 1985), born Marie-Jeanne Bellon-Downey, was a French tragedian, comic actor and stage director. She was the director of the Théâtre du Gymnase in Paris from 1962 onwards, and this theatre now bears her name.[1]

Marie Bell
Marie-Jeanne Bellon

(1900-12-23)23 December 1900
Bègles, France
Died14 August 1985(1985-08-14) (aged 84)
Resting placeMonaco Cemetery
Occupation(s)Tragedian, comic actor, stage director
SpouseJean Chevrier

Early lifeEdit

Marie Bell was born on 23 December 1900 in Bègles near Bordeaux (France).[citation needed] With her Irish father, she spent her childhood between Bordeaux and England.[citation needed]


Bell was a classical actress. She also appeared in avant-garde theatre, Jean Genet in particular.

Her interpretation of the role of Phèdre is highly noted : "Voir Marie Bell dans Phèdre est une chance unique pour quiconque veut savoir ce qu'est le génie français." André Malraux[2]

During the German Occupation of France (1940–1944), she participated in the French resistance as one of nine directors of the Front national du théâtre.[3] She was awarded the decoration of the Légion d'honneur by President Charles de Gaulle.[4]

Personal lifeEdit

Bell married Jean Chevrier, who was also an actor.[5]


Bell died on 14 August 1985 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, Hauts-de-Seine, France. She was buried alongside her husband Jean Chevrier at the Monaco Cemetery[5] not far from Josephine Baker.



  1. ^ "Marie Bell".
  2. ^ "Seeing Marie Bell in Phèdre is a unique opportunity for anyone who wants to know what is the French genius." Cited in L'Avant-Scène n°342 (October 1965)
  3. ^ Marie-Agnès Joubert, La Comédie-Française sous l’Occupation, Paris, Tallandier, 1998, p. 353.
  4. ^ "Marie Bell".
  5. ^ a b "Visite funéraire de Monaco". Amis et Passionés du Père-Lachaise. Retrieved December 26, 2015.

External linksEdit