French cinema mourns the loss of one of its most beloved actresses. Michele Morgan, age 96, died on Tuesday December 20. If you look up Michele Morgan’s cause of death, you won’t find any information on how she died, but we would like to look back at how she lived, with our Michele Morgan wiki, including Michele Morgan’s net worth.
Since Morgan was a French film actress, there’s a very good chance that most people today haven’t heard of her. Aside from The Dark Knight Rises star, French actress Marion Cotillard, there aren’t many French film stars known to the world, outside of their home country. She may not have been known to millennials (since any Michele Morgan movies we mention are from the 1940s and 1950s) but she was known as a successful actress in France. Whether it’s Michele Morgan’s kids, Michele Morgan’s family or Michele Morgan’s husband, we are having a look into the life of the successful French actress, Michele Morgan.
The Leading Lady was Born in France with a Different Name
Michele Morgan was born as Simone Renee Roussel on February 29, 1920, in Neuilly-sur-Seine.
She Left Home at a Young Age
Morgan always knew she wanted to be an actress and she left home at 15 years old, to pursue her acting dreams. She took acting lessons from Rene Simon, the founder of the Cours Simon Drama School in Paris. When Germany invaded France in 1940 during World War II, Morgan fled to the United States to pursue an acting career in Hollywood.
Her Breakthrough Role in Hollywood
Before she died, Morgan was known as a glamour icon in France. She received her breakthrough role in Marc Allegret’s 1937 film, Heart of Paris, in which she starred opposite Raimu. She was also cast in Allegret’s 1938 film Storm, but she rose to fame when she starred in Marcel Carne’s 1938 film, Port of Shadows with French star Jean Gabin. That’s how she became known as the girl with the most beautiful eyes in cinema! In Port of Shadows, Gabin tells Morgan, “You have beautiful eyes you know.” To which she replies, “Kiss me.” After that memorable scene, Morgan became well-known as the actress “with the most beautiful eyes in cinema.” Her 1977 autobiography was appropriately titled, With These Eyes.
Her Successful Career in Cinema
Morgan was a leading lady for over three decades and was a staple in the film noir genre at the time. She is best known for her role in the 1947 film, The Fallen Idol and she also starred in notable movies such as Passage to Marseille (1944), The Chase (1946), and Marie Antoinette Queen of France (1955). Morgan had roles in nearly 70 films during her lengthy and successful career in both French and American cinema. Though her career ended the early 1990s, she led a very fulfilling career in acting.
FYI: In 1941, she built a house in Los Angeles at 10050 Cielo Drive, which later became famous as the location of the famous Manson family murders in 1969.
She Won the First Award at the Cannes Film Festival
In 1946, at the very first Cannes Film Festival, Morgan was the first Cannes Best Actress winner! She was given the award for her role as a blind woman in La Symphonie Pastorale (Pastoral Symphony). It was a religious drama about a minister and his son, who both fall in love with Morgan’s character.
She Received many Awards for Her Work
She later received lifetime achievement accolades in 1996 at the Venice Film Festival, known then as the Career Golden Lion. She also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960, France’s Legion of Honor in 1969, and an Honorary Cesar award in 1992, for her contributions in French Cinema. She was voted the most popular French actress 10 times!
The French President Gave a Statement
In a statement, French president Francois Hollande said she “personified elegance and grace.”
He also said, “Michele Morgan was more than just a gaze. Her legend left its mark on many generations.”
She was Married While She was in Hollywood
While in Hollywood, Morgan married William Marshall (1917-1994) in 1942 and they had a son, Mike (1944-2005). Morgan and William divorced in 1948, long before he died. In 1950, she married French actor, Henri Vidal (1919-1959) and was married to him until he died. She then lived with film director, Gerard Oury until his death in 2006.
Her Death and Burial
Morgan died of unknown causes in Meudon, France on December 20. Her funeral will be held at the Eglise Saint-Pierre in Neuilly-sur-Seine on December 23, and she will be buried at the Montparnasse Cemetery. May this iconic French beauty rest in peace.