] (French pronunciation: [bʁiʒit baʁdo], English: /ˈbrɪdʒɨt bɑrˈdoʊ/; born 28 September 1934) is a French animal rights activist and a former fashion model, actress and singer.
In her early life, Bardot was an aspiring ballet dancer. She started her acting career in 1952, and after appearing in 16 films, became world-famous due to her role in her then-husband Roger Vadim's controversial film And God Created Woman. She later starred in Jean-Luc Godard's 1963 cult film, Contempt. She was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actress for her role in Louis Malle's 1965 film, Viva Maria!.
She caught the attention of French intellectuals. She was the subject of Simone de Beauvoir's 1959 essay, The Lolita Syndrome, which described Bardot as a "locomotive of women's history" and built upon existentialist themes to declare her the first and most liberated woman of post-war France.
Bardot retired from the entertainment industry in 1973. During her career in show business Bardot starred in 47 films, performed in numerous musical shows, and recorded 80 songs. She was awarded the Légion d'honneur in 1985 but refused to receive it.
After her retirement, Bardot established herself as an animal rights activist. During the 1990s she became outspoken due to her criticism of immigration, race-mixing, some aspects of homosexuality and Islam in France, and has been fined five times for "inciting racial hatred"
Early lifeBrigitte Bardot was born in Paris to Anne-Marie 'Toty' Mucel (1912–1978) and Louis 'Pilou' Bardot (1896–1975). Her father had an engineering degree and worked with his own father in the family business. Toty was sixteen years younger and they married in 1933. She grew up in a middle-class Roman Catholic family. Brigitte's mother enrolled her and her younger sister Marie-Jean ('Mijanou', born 5 May 1938) in dance. Mijanou eventually gave up dancing lessons to complete her education, whereas Brigitte decided to concentrate on a ballet career. In 1947, Bardot was accepted to The National Superior Conservatory of Paris for Music and Dance and for three years attended the ballet classes of Russian choreographer Boris Knyazev. (One of her classmates was Leslie Caron). By the invitation of her mother's acquaintance, she modeled in a fashion show in 1949. In the same year, she modeled for a fashion magazine "Jardin des Modes" managed by another friend of her mother, journalist Hélène Lazareff. She appeared on an 8 March 1950 cover of ELLE and was noticed by a young film director, Roger Vadim, while babysitting for a friend. He was so taken with the picture that he showed an issue of the magazine to director and screenwriter Marc Allégret who offered Bardot the opportunity to audition for "Les lauriers sont coupés" thereafter. Although Bardot got the role, the shooting of the film was cancelled but it made her consider becoming an actress. Moreover, her acquaintance with Vadim, who attended the audition, influenced her further life and career.
CareerAlthough the European film industry was then in its ascendancy, Bardot was one of the few European actresses to have the mass media's attention in the United States.
Brigitte Bardot debuted in a 1952 comedy film Le Trou Normand (English title: Crazy for Love). In the same year she married Roger Vadim. From 1952 to 1956 she appeared in seventeen films; in 1953 playing a part in Jean Anouilh's stageplay "L'Invitation au château" ("The Invitation to the Castle"). She received media attention when she attended the Cannes Film Festival in April 1953.
Her films of the early and mid 1950s were generally lightweight romantic dramas, some of them historical, in which she was cast as ingénue or siren, often in varying states of undress. She played bit parts in three English-language films, the British comedy Doctor at Sea (1955), Helen of Troy (1954), in which she was understudy for the title role but only appears as Helen's handmaid, and Act of Love (1954) with Kirk Douglas. Her French-language films were dubbed for international release.
Roger Vadim was not content with this light fare. The New Wave of French and Italian art directors and their stars were riding high internationally, and he felt Bardot was being undersold. Looking for something more like an art film to push her as a serious actress, he showcased her in And God Created Woman (1956) with Jean-Louis Trintignant. The film, about an immoral teenager in a respectable small-town setting, was an international success.
There was a popular claim that Bardot did more for the French international trade balance than the entire French car industry.
In Bardot's early career, professional photographer Sam Levin's photos contributed to her image of sensuality. One of Levin's pictures shows Brigitte from behind, dressed in a white corset.
British photographer Cornel Lucas made iconic images of Bardot in the 1950s and 1960s that have become representative of her public persona.
She divorced Vadim in 1957 and in 1959 married actor Jacques Charrier, with whom she starred in Babette Goes to War in 1959. The paparazzi preyed upon her marriage, while she and her husband clashed over the direction of her career. Her films became more substantial, but this brought pressure of dual celebrity as she sought critical acclaim while remaining a glamour model for most of the world.
Vie privée (1960), directed by Louis Malle has more than an element of her life story in it.The scene in which, returning to her apartment, Bardot's character is harangued in the elevator by a middle-aged cleaning lady calling her offensive names, was based on an actual incident, and is a resonant image of celebrity in the mid-20th century.Bardot was awarded a David di Donatello Award for Best Foreign actress for the role.
Soon afterwards, Bardot withdrew to the seclusion of Southern France where she had bought the house La Madrague in Saint-Tropez in May 1958.
In 1963, she starred in Jean-Luc Godard's critically acclaimed film Contempt.
Brigitte Bardot was featured in many other films along with notable actors such as Alain Delon (Famous Love Affairs, Spirits of the Dead), Jean Gabin (In Case of Adversity), Sean Connery (Shalako), Jean Marais (Royal Affairs in Versailles, School for Love), Lino Ventura (Rum Runners), Annie Girardot (The Novices), Claudia Cardinale (The Legend of Frenchie King), Jeanne Moreau (Viva Maria!), Jane Birkin (Don Juan, or If Don Juan Were a Woman).
In 1973, Bardot announced that she was retiring from acting at the age of 39 as "a way to get out elegantly".
She participated in various musical shows and recorded many popular songs in the 1960s and 1970s, mostly in collaboration with Serge Gainsbourg, Bob Zagury and Sacha Distel, including "Harley Davidson", "Je Me Donne A Qui Me Plait", "Bubble gum", "Contact", "Je Reviendrais Toujours Vers Toi", "L'Appareil A Sous", "La Madrague", "On Demenage", "Sidonie", "Tu Veux, Ou Tu Veux Pas?", "Le Soleil De Ma Vie" (the cover of Stevie Wonder's "You Are the Sunshine of My Life") and the notorious "Je t'aime... moi non plus". Bardot pleaded with Gainsbourg not to release this duet and he complied with her wishes; the following year he re-recorded a version with British-born model and actress Jane Birkin, which became a massive hit all over Europe. The version with Bardot was issued in 1986 and became a popular download hit in 2006 when Universal Records made their back catalogue available to purchase online, with this version of the song ranking as the third most popular download.
Personal lifeOn 21 December 1952, at the age of 18, Bardot was married to director Roger Vadim. In order to receive permission from Bardot's parents to marry her, Vadim, originally an Orthodox Christian, was urged to convert to Catholicism. They divorced five years later, but remained friends and collaborated in later work. Bardot had an affair with her co-star in And God Created Woman, Jean-Louis Trintignant (married at the time to French actress Stephane Audran), followed by her divorce from Vadim. The two lived together for about two years. Their relationship was complicated by Trintignant's frequent absence due to military service and Bardot's affair with musician Gilbert Bécaud, and they eventually separated.
The 9 February 1958 edition of the Los Angeles Times reported on the front page that Bardot was recovering in Italy from a reported nervous breakdown. A suicide attempt with sleeping pills two days earlier was denied by her public relations manager.
On 18 June 1959, she married actor Jacques Charrier, by whom she had her only child, a son, Nicolas-Jacques Charrier (born 11 January 1960). After she and Charrier divorced in 1962, Nicolas was raised in the Charrier family and did not maintain close contact with Bardot until his adulthood.
Bardot's other husbands were German millionaire playboy Gunter Sachs (14 July 1966 – 1 October 1969), and Bernard d'Ormale (16 August 1992 – present). She is reputed to have had relationships with many other men including her La Vérité co-star Sami Frey, musicians Serge Gainsbourg and Sacha Distel. In the late 1950s, she shared an exchange she considered la croisée de deux sillages ("the crossing of two wakes") with actor and true crime author John Gilmore, then an actor in France who was working on a New Wave film with Jean Seberg. Gilmore told Paris Match: 'I felt a beautiful warmth with Bardot but found it difficult to discuss things in any depth whatsoever.' In the 1970s, she lived with the sculptor Miroslav Brozek and posed for some of his sculptures.
In 1974, Bardot appeared in a nude photo shoot in the Italian edition of Playboy magazine, which celebrated her 40th birthday.
ActivismIn 1973, just before her fortieth birthday, Bardot announced her retirement. After appearing in more than forty motion pictures and recording several music albums, most notably with Serge Gainsbourg, she chose to use her fame to promote animal rights.
In 1986, she established the Brigitte Bardot Foundation for the Welfare and Protection of Animals]. She became a vegetarian and raised three million French francs to fund the foundation by auctioning off jewelry and many personal belongings. Today she is a strong animal rights activist and a major opponent of the consumption of horse meat. In support of animal protection, she condemned seal hunting in Canada during a visit to that country with Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. She sought to discuss the issue with Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, though her request for a meeting was denied.[broken citation]
She once had a neighbor's donkey castrated while looking after it, on the grounds of its "sexual harassment" of her own donkey and mare, for which she was taken to court by the donkey's owner in 1989. In 1999, Bardot wrote a letter to Chinese President Jiang Zemin, published in French magazine VSD, in which she accused the Chinese of "torturing bears and killing the world's last tigers and rhinos to make aphrodisiacs".
She has donated more than $140,000 over two years for a mass sterilization and adoption program for Bucharest's stray dogs, estimated to number 300,000. She is planning to house many of these stray animals in a new animal rescue facility that she is having built on her property.
In August 2010, she addressed a letter to the Danish Queen, Margrethe II of Denmark appealing for the sovereign to halt the killing of dolphins in the Faroe Islands. In the letter, Bardot describes the activity as a "macabre spectacle" that "is a shame for Denmark and the Faroe Islands." She continued: "This is not a hunt but a mass slaughter" and also described it as an "outmoded tradition that has no acceptable justification in today's world".
Politics, controversy and legal issuesCharles de Gaulle in the 1960s. Her husband Bernard d'Ormal is a former adviser of the far right Front National party. Despite this association, Bardot has never joined the party and is not a known sympathiser.
In a book she wrote in 1999, called "Le Carré de Pluton" (Pluto's Square), Bardot criticizes the procedure used in the ritual slaughter of sheep during the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha. Additionally, in a section in the book entitled, Open Letter to My Lost France, Bardot writes: "...my country, France, my homeland, my land is again invaded by an overpopulation of foreigners, especially Muslims.". For this comment, a French court fined her 30,000 francs in June 2000. She had previously been fined in 1997 for the original publication of this open letter in Le Figaro and again 1998 for making similar remarks.
In her 2003 book, Un cri dans le silence ("A Scream in the Silence"), she warned of an “Islamicization of France”, and said of Muslim immigration:
In May 2003, the Movement Against Racism and for Friendship between Peoples (MRAP) announced they were going to sue Bardot for the comments. The "Ligue des droits de l'homme" (Human Rights League) announced they were considering similar legal proceedings.
In the book, she also made comparisons of her close gay friends to today's homosexuals who, "jiggle their bottoms, put their little fingers in the air and with their little castrato voices moan about what those ghastly heteros put them through" and that some contemporary homosexuals behave like "fairground freaks". In her own defence, Bardot wrote in a letter to a French gay magazine, saying, "Apart from my husband—who maybe will cross over one day as well—I am entirely surrounded by homos. For years, they have been my support, my friends, my adopted children, my confidants." Bardot's book was also against "the mixing of genes"; made attacks on modern art, which Bardot equated with "shit"; drew similarities between French politicians and weather vanes; and compared her own beliefs with previous generations who had "given their lives to push out invaders".
On 10 June 2004, Bardot was again convicted by a French court for "inciting racial hatred" and fined €5,000, the fourth such conviction/fine the French courts gave her. Bardot denied the racial hatred charge and apologized in court, saying: "I never knowingly wanted to hurt anybody. It is not in my character."
In 2008, she was once more convicted of inciting racial/religious hatred in relation to a letter she wrote, a copy of which she sent to Nicolas Sarkozy when he was Interior Minister of France. The letter stated her objections to Muslims in France ritually slaughtering sheep by slitting their throats without anesthetizing them first but also expressed that she was "fed up with being under the thumb of this population which is destroying us, destroying our country and imposing its habits" in reference to Muslims. The trial concluded on 3 June 2008, with a conviction and fine of 15,000 Euros, the largest of her fines to date. The prosecutor stated that she was tired of charging Bardot with offences related to racial hatred.
During the 2008 United States presidential election she branded the Republican Party vice-presidential candidate, Sarah Palin a "disgrace to women". She criticized the former governor of Alaska for her stance on global warming and gun control. She was also offended by Palin's support for Arctic oil exploration and for her lack of consideration in protecting polar bears.
On August 13, 2010, she lashed out at director Kyle Newman in regards of his plans on making a biographical film on her life. Her response was, "Wait until I'm dead before you make a movie about my life!". Bardot even warned Newman that if the project progresses "sparks will fly".
Bardot is recognized for popularizing bikini swimwear in early films such as Manina (Woman without a Veil, 1952), in her appearances at Cannes and in many photo shoots.
Bardot also brought into fashion the choucroute ("Sauerkraut") hairstyle (a sort of beehive hair style) and gingham clothes after wearing a checkered pink dress, designed by Jacques Esterel, at her wedding to Charrier. She was the subject for an Andy Warhol painting.
In addition to popularizing the bikini swimming suit, Bardot has also been credited with popularizing the city of St. Tropez and the town of Buzios, Brazil, which she visited in 1964 with her boyfriend at the time, Brazilian musician Bob Zagury. A statue by Christina Motta honours Brigitte Bardot in Buzios, Brazil.
Bardot was idolized by young John Lennon and Paul McCartney. They made plans to shoot a film featuring The Beatles and Bardot, similar to A Hard Day's Night, but the plans were never fulfilled.Lennon's first wife Cynthia Powell lightened her hair color to more closely resemble Bardot, while George Harrison made comparisons between Bardot and his first wife Pattie Boyd, as Cynthia wrote later in A Twist of Lennon. Lennon and Bardot met in person once, in 1968 at the Mayfair Hotel, introduced by Beatles press agent Derek Taylor; a nervous Lennon took LSD before arriving, and neither star impressed the other. (Lennon recalled in a memoir, "I was on acid, and she was on her way out.")
According to the liner notes of his first (self-titled) album, musician Bob Dylan dedicated the first song he ever wrote to Bardot. He also mentioned her by name in "I Shall Be Free", which appeared on his second album, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan.
She dabbled in pop music and played the role of a glamour model. In 1965, she appeared as herself in the Hollywood production Dear Brigitte (1965) starring James Stewart.
In 1970, the sculptor Alain Gourdon used Bardot as the model for a bust of Marianne, the French national emblem.
In 2007, she was named among Empire magazine's 100 Sexiest Film Stars.
The first-ever official exhibition looking at Bardot's influence and legacy opened in Paris on 29 September 2009 - a day after her 75th birthday.
|1952||Les dents longues||Bridesmaid||(The Long Teeth) Uncredited|
|Le trou normand||Javotte Lemoine||(Crazy for Love)|
|Manina, la fille sans voile||Manina||(Manina, the Girl in the Bikin)|
|1953||Le portrait de son père||Domino||(His Father's Portrait )|
|Une acte d'amour||Mimi||(Act of Love)|
|1954||Si Versailles n'était conté||Mademoiselle de Rozille||(Rotal Affairs in Versailles)|
|Tradita||Anna||(Concert of Intrigue)|
|1955||Le fils de Caroline chérie||Pilar d'Aranda||(Caroline and the Rebels)|
|Futures Vedettes||Sophie||(Sweet Sixteen)|
|Doctor at Sea||Hélène Colbert|
|Les grandes manoeuvres||Lucie||(The Grand Maneuver)|
|La lumière d'en face||Olivia Marceau||(The Light actross the Street)|
|1956||Helen of Troy||Andraste|
|Cette sacrée gamine||Brigitte Latour||(Mam'zelle Pigalle)|
|Mio figlio Nerone||Poppea||(Nero's Weekend)|
|Mademoiselle Striptease||Agnès Dumont||(Plucking the Daisy)|
|La Mariée est trop belle||Chouchou||(The Bride is Too Beutiful)|
|Et Dieu… créa la femme||Juliette Hardy||(And God Created Woman)|
|1957||Une Parisienne||Brigitte Laurier|
|1958||Les bijoutiers du claire de lune||Ursula||(The Night Heaven Fell)|
|En cas de malheur||Séverine Serizy||(In case of adversity)|
|1959||La femme et le pantin||Eva Marchand||(A Woman Like Satan)|
|Babette s'en va-t-en guerre||Babette||(Babette Goes to War)|
|Voulez-vous danser avec moi?||Virginie Dandieu||(Come Dance with Me!)|
|1960||L'affaire d'une nuit||Woman in restaurant||(It Happened at Night) Cameo|
|La Vérité||Dominique Marceau||(The Truth) David di Donatello Award for Best Foreign Actress|
|1961||La Bride sur le cou||Sophie||(Please!, Not Now!)|
|Amours célèbres||Agnès Bernauer||(Famous Love Affairs)|
|1962||Vie privée||Jill||(A Very Private Affair)|
|Le repos du guerrier||Geneviève Le Theil||(Warrior's Rest)|
|1963||Contempt||Camille Javal||(Le Mépris)|
|1964||Une ravissante idiote||Penelope Lightfeather||(The Ravishing Idiot)'|
|Viva Maria!||Maria I||Nomination - BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actress|
|1966||Masculin, féminin||Actress in bistro||Cameo|
|1966||À coeur joie||Cecile||(Two Weeks in September )|
|1968||Histoires extraordinaires||Giuseppina||(Spirits of the Dead)|
|Shalako||Countess Irina Lazaar||(Courage - Let's Run)|
|1969||Les Femmes||Clara||(The Vixen)|
|1970||L'ours et la poupée||Felicia||(The Bear and the Doll)|
|1971||Boulevard du Rhum||Linda Larue||(Rum Runners)|
|Les Pétroleuses||Louise||(The Legend of Frenchie King)|
|1973||Don Juan ou Si Don Juan était une femme||Jeanne||(Don Juan, or If Don Juan Were a Woman)|
|L'histoire très bonne et très joyeuse de Colinot Trousse-Chemise||Arabelle||(The Edifying and Joyous Story of Colinot)|
DiscographyBardot released several albums during the 1950s and 1960s
- And God Created Women (1957, Decca)
- Behind Brigitte Bardot (1960, Warner Bros)
- Brigitte Bardot Sings (1963, Philips)
- B.B. (1964, Philips)
- Brigitte Bardot Show 67 (1967, Mercury)
- Brigitte Bardot Show (1968, Mercury)
- [Burlington Cameo Brings You] Special Bardot (1968. RCA)
- Single Duet with Serge Gainsbourg "Bonnie and Clyde"