So after a little June 11 poll, Mylène Demongeot has been declared our winner. Rest assured that Michèle Mercier will not be forgotten, one of the reason being that we need more redheads! We also need more blondes, so why not invited Mylène along for a little nostalgic ride? Sometimes compared to Brigitte Bardot, Ms. Demongeot has carved her own path along the way, not satisfied to merely being viewed as a sex kitten. She has been active on the international scene, making her a familiar name around the world. These days, her official site is up and running and you won’t believe how good she still looks.
Born in 1935, 1936 or 1938? Not sure, but who cares? What is official is the day: September 29. Starting life as Marie-Hélène Demongeot, she was still a wee girl when one of her eye began to display a little squint, to the cruel amusement of other children, so she began to wear glasses very young. Living in Paris during WWII, she found it a traumatic experience to witness all these German soldiers around…. but soon enough, American soldiers giving her chocolate were more than welcome!
After the war, Mylène became a regular at the Opera, alongside her father. The acting bug is thusly implanted, as she bega to go to the movies as many times as physically possible, becoming a big fan of Deana Durbin, among others. But she’s still considered an ugly duckling, not very inspired by classical studies. Remaining an art fan, piano lessons are enjoyed. Still, there is school trouble for bad behavior. In her late teens, she can finally be operated on for her funny eye. This changes all: finally able to look into the eyes of others, she blooms into a beautiful girl and enjoys her first date.
Soon after, she’s discovered right on the street, being offered to be a model right there on the spot. And this is the real start, soon employed for ads, beauty shots, etc. Logically, drama courses are scheduled next. She makes her film debut in 1953 for Les enfants de l’amour, followed by some silly comedies. For Les sorcières de Salem in 1957, she gives quite an impression, playing a seductive little minx alongside Yves Montant. At that point, her measurements were 36″-21″-36″ and her height 5′ 7¼”, so everything was going very well. Equally at ease in comedy or drama, Mylène became know to play manipulative seductresses, in any time period. She married photographer Henri Coste in 1958, an union that would last ten years.
She began an international career, mainly alongside David Niven in Bonjour Tristesse, no small feat. Mylène was quite a sight to behold in a couple of peplum films, starring with Steve Reeves in The Giant of Marathon and Roger Moore in Romulus and the Sabines. Another popular role was as Milady de Winter in a 1961 adaptation of the Three Musketeers. All that gave her the status of top European sex-symbol, but here was not your typical dumb blonde.
She took part of the Fantomas series, playing in all three episodes, which enjoyed world-wide success. A second wedding to director Marc Simenon occured in 1968, and they will collaborate together on films in the upcoming years. Mylène would work in Québec in the early seventies, appearing in hits like Quelques arpents de neige. Things would slow down some time later, as her new image of wise madam began to emerge, still seductive, still one step ahead of everyone. She also began to produce more and enjoyed a successfull writing career, with many theater projects. Simenon died accidentaly in 1999.
She was named Commander in the Order of Arts and Letters for her achievements in acting. Mylène Demongeot is also, like her good friend Brigitte Bardot, an ardent animal activist. It’s interesting to note that an actress that started in sexy roles could become involved in more experimental cinema, and actually got nominated for two César as Best Supporting Actress. A very impressive career for this talented lady, who learned how to impose herself in a business where you’ve got to constantly reinvent yourself to still gain the favor of the public eye.
1953 Les enfants de l’amour 1955
Futures vedettes; Frou-Frou 1956 Papa, maman, ma femme et moi; It’s a Wonderful World 1957 Les sorcières de Salem; Quand vient l’amour; Une manche et la belle 1958 Bonjour tristesse; Sois belle et tais-toi; Cette nuit-là 1959 Le vent se lève; Faibles femmes; Upstairs and Downstairs; The Big Night; The Giant of Marathon 1960 Under Ten Flags; Love in Rome 1961 Le chevalier noir; The Singer Not the Song; Les trois mousquetaires : Les ferrets de la reine; Les trois mousquetaires : La vengeance de Milady; Romulus and the Sabines 1962 Copacabana Place; Beach Casanova 1963 Gold for the Caesars; À cause, à cause d’une femme; Doctor in Distress 1964 L’appartement des filles; Fantômas 1965 Uncle Tom’s Cabin; OSS 117: Mission for a Killer; Fantômas se déchaîne 1966 How to Seduce a Playboy; Tendre voyou 1967 Fantômas contre Scotland Yard 1968 Une cigarette pour un ingénu; The Private Navy of Sgt. O’Farrell 1969 12 + 1 1970 L’échappé fabuleux; Le champignon 1971 L’explosion 1972 Les papillons de verre; Douce est la revanche; Montréal Blues; Quelques arpents de neige 1973 J’ai mon voyage! 1974 Par le sang des autres 1975 Les noces de porcelaine; Il faut vivre dangereusement 1977 L’échappatoire 1981 Signé Furax 1983 Surprise party; Le bâtard; Flics de choc 1984 Mon ami Washington` Retenez-moi… ou je fais un malheur!; Princess and the Photographer 1985 Paulette, la pauvre petite milliardaire 1986 Tenue de soirée 1988 Béruchet dit la Boulie 1997 L’homme idéal 1998 Nous sommes tous des gagnants 2004 Victoire; 36 Quai des Orfèvres 2006 Camping; La Californie 2007 Sous les toits de Paris 2009 Une famille clé en main