Anouk Aimée, “La Dolce Vita” and “A Man and a Woman” actress, dies at 92

The Oscar-nominated French actress was also known for her work in Jacques Demy's "Lola" and Federico Fellini's "8 1/2."

Anouk Aimée, the French leading lady who worked with such auteurs as Federico Fellini, Sidney Lumet, Jacques Demy, and Bernardo Bertolucci has died. She was 92.

Aimée’s daughter Manuela Papatakis announced the news Tuesday on social media. “With my daughter, Galaad, and my granddaughter, Mila, we are immensely saddened to announce the decease of my mother, Anouk Aimée,” Papatakis wrote on Instagram. “I was at her bedside when she passed away this morning at her home in Paris; With infinite love.”

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Perhaps best known for her Oscar-nominated role in Claude Lelouch’s beloved 1966 romance, A Man and a Woman, Aimée achieved international acclaim and recognition as the aloof romantic lead playing opposite Jean-Louis Trintignant. With more than 80 feature credits to her name, she went on to work with some of Europe’s most acclaimed directors in a career that spanned more than seven decades.



Anouk Aimee

Born Nicole Françoise Florence Dreyfus on April 27, 1932 to actor parents, Aimée kicked off her career in the late ‘40s, when she began performing under the name Françoise Dreyfus. At 14, she landed a small role in her first film, La Maison sous la mer (The House Under the Sea). She would turn her character’s name, Anouk, into a stage pseudonym, with the addition of “Aimée,”  (which means “loved” in French) as suggested by Jacques Prévert, who co-wrote the script of her next film, The Lovers of Verona. The 1949 film, a modernized Romeo and Juliet retelling, would mark her first lead role.

Aimée starred in over 70 films helmed by several directors of note. Her credits include Ronald Neame’s Golden Salamander, Alexandre Astruc’s drama Bad Liaisons, and the Émile Zola adaptation Pot-Bouille — but it was her 1960 role in Federico Fellini’s La Dolce Vita that marked her rise to fame. Aimée played the liberated Italian socialite Maddalenam, who picks up a tabloid journalist played by Marcello Mastroianni.

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In 1961, Aimée played the titular cabaret dancer in Jacques Demy’s Lola, before starring as Queen Bera in Robert Aldrich’s 1962 epic, Sodom and Gomorrah. She would reunite with Fellini for his 1963 autobiographical classic 8 ½ as Luisa, the spurned wife character based on Fellini’s real-life partner, actress Giulietta Masina.

<p>Photofest</p> Anouk Aimee in Lola


Anouk Aimee in Lola

1966’s A Man and a Woman marked another major career milestone for Aimée. Following its release, she won a Golden Globe and was nominated for Best Actress at the Academy Awards. The film itself won the Palme d'Or at the 1966 Cannes Film Festival, a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film, and two Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Original Screenplay. It also spawned two sequels that reunited Trintignant and Aimée: 1986’s A Man and a Woman: 20 Years Later, followed by 2019’s The Best Years of a Life, which marks the final film role for both actors, prior to their deaths. Trintignant died in 2022.

Aimée's other notable credits include Bertolucci’s Tragedy of a Ridiculous Man, Lumet’s The Appointment, Robert Altman’s Prêt-à-Porter, and Agnes Varda’s A Hundred and One Nights.

The actress was married four times, including her eight year marriage to fellow actor, Albert Finney. Aimée shared her daughter Manuela with her second husband, Greek director Nikos Papatakis.

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