Iconic 'New Wave' French actress Anouk Aimée dies aged 92

French star Anouk Aimee, who died on Tuesday aged 92, cast a spell over a generation of film-goers with her roles in European masterpieces such as Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita and A Man and A Woman by Claude Lelouch.

Fellini, who also directed Aimée in 8 1/2 (1963) revered her, saying her "face has the same intriguing sensuality as that of (Greta) Garbo, (Marlene) Dietrich or (Cindy) Crawford, these great mysterious queens, these priestesses of femininity."

Born Francoise Dreyfus in Paris on 27 April, 1932, Aimée's life was turned upside down when German troops marched into the city when she was eight. Her father was Jewish, putting the family in danger, even though she was raised a Catholic.

"We moved all the time. We hid... But then the Germans turned up and took over the apartment downstairs," she recalled.

The family sent her to the countryside where they hoped she would be safer, changing her name so she would not have to wear a yellow star.

The war over, her career began at the age of 13 when she was picked from the street to play in a Marcel Carné film that was never finished for lack of money.

She finally made her screen debut the following year and adopted her character's name, Anouk, as her own. It would become popular in France thanks to her.

It was French poet and screenwriter Jacques Prévert who convinced her to also change her surname to Aimée, meaning "loved".

(with AFP)

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