Arletty (1898-1992): Life and Career

Arletty, born Léonie Bathiat (1898-1992) was a French actress, singer and fashion icon who dominated the French stage and cinema during the 1920s, 30s and 40s.

Born in a working-class family in Courbevoie, a western suburb of Paris, Arletty began her career as a model, before transitioning to acting on the stage. She quickly made a name for herself as a rising star of the French theater scene, known for her striking beauty and magnetic stage presence.

In the 1920s and 1930s, Arletty became one of the most popular and sought-after actresses in French cinema, starring in numerous films, including “Les Enfants Terribles” (1950) and “Hôtel du Nord” (1938). With her captivating performances, she established herself as one of the leading actresses of her generation, earning critical acclaim and adulation from audiences.

Her striking beauty, magnetic presence, and charismatic performances made her a fashion icon, her style and fashion choice were often imitated by many women of her time.

Despite her success, Arletty’s life was not without controversy. During World War II, she had a much-publicized affair with a German officer, which led to her being ostracized from the French film industry. However, in the post-war years, she made a comeback, starring in films such as “Les Amants de Montparnasse” (1958) and “Les Amitiés Particulières” (1964).

Arletty retired from acting in the 1970s, but her legacy lived on through her performances and the many actresses who sought to emulate her style and grace. She died in 1992, leaving behind a rich legacy as one of the most iconic and enduring actresses of French cinema.

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