18 July 2013

Annette Vadim

Pouty-lipped, blonde Annette Vadim (1936-2005) was a Danish-born starlet and socialite. She was the second wife of Svengali-like French film director Roger Vadim, who tried unsuccessfully to turn her into another Brigitte Bardot. Yet, her brief film career included interesting films like Vadim's Les Liaisons Dangereuses (1959) and Et mourir de plaisir (1960), and Roberto Rossellini’s Anima near (1962).

Annette Vadim
French postcard by E.D.U.G., Paris, no. 138. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Annette Vadim
French postcard by M.D., Paris, no. 14. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Annette Vadim
French postcard by E.D.U.G., Paris, no. 142. Sent by mail in 1961. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Laroche and Chanel
Annette Vadim was born as Annette Susanne Strøyberg in 1936 on Funen (Fyn Island), Denmark, also the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen. She grew up under the Nazi occupation. Her father was a doctor, and after his death she and her sister moved to Copenhagen. As a schoolgirl, she was a fine athlete and a champion water skier, but it was her full-lipped beauty which attracted the attention of a passing photographer in the street. Until then, she had harboured hopes of medical school, but the photos launched her on a career as a model. In her late teens she went to Paris to become a mannequin for Guy Laroche, who had just opened his couture house, and she later worked for Chanel, amongst others. At the age of 21, she met director Roger Vadim during the production of Les bijoutiers du clair de lune/The Night Heaven Fell (Roger Vadim, 1958) who was then at the height of his notoriety following the release of Et Dieu... créa la femme/And God Created Woman (1956) starring Brigitte Bardot. (Some sources like The Guardian claim they met during the production of Et Dieu... créa la femme). Vadim fell in love with the sexy young blonde from Denmark. Les bijoutiers du clair de lune starred Bardot, who Vadim divorced in December 1957. One day later his daughter with Stroyberg, Nadine, was born. Vadim and Stroyberg married in June 1958.

Annette Vadim
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 15 L. Photo: Lucienne Chevert.

Annette Vadim
French postcard by E.D.U.G., Paris, no. 828. Photo: Lucienne Chevert.

Annette Vadim
French postcard by E.D.U.G., Paris, no. 68. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Not The New BB
According to the obituary writer at the The Times “of the five wives of Roger Vadim, Annette Stroyberg had perhaps to labour hardest to escape his shadow. Although her ingénue’s sensuality and blonde mane led the press to hail her as the ‘new BB’ when she replaced Brigitte Bardot in the director’s affections in the late 1950s, she was at that time neither a natural creature of the limelight like her predecessor, nor a full-blown star like Jane Fonda and Catherine Deneuve, nor an heiress like Catherine Schneider.” She made two films with her husband. Les liaisons dangereuses/Dangerous Love Affairs (1959, Roger Vadim) was an ironic updated version of Choderlos de Laclos' 1782 novel of the same name. She played Marianne de Tourvel, the virtuous prey of the evil Jeanne Moreau and Gérard Philipe. According to Gary Brumburgh at IMDb Annette looked "stunning of course" in her debut, but she “found herself quite outclassed by her cast, hardly ready for such a demanding role.” More successful was her work in the vampire film Et mourir de plaisir/Blood and Roses (1960), based on the classic Sheridan Le Fanu tale Carmilla, cast as the society girl-cum-lesbian blood-sucking seductress. In her 2007 review of the film at Cinebeats, Kimberly Lindbergs writes: “I personally find Blood and Roses to be one of the most influential and important horror films ever made, and possibly Roger Vadim’s best movie. (…) Vadim infused Blood and Roses with a high-level of eroticism that had rarely, if ever, been present in previous horror films made earlier and his personal retelling of Le Fanu’s Carmilla would go on to spawn a legion of similar films.” About Annette Vadim, Lindbergs comments: “She brings a vulnerability and sadness to her role of Carmilla that is hard to forget. She also shares a fascinating chemistry with her lovely co-star Elsa Martinelli.”

Annette Vadim
Italian postcard by Rotalfoto, Milano, no. 111. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Annette Vadim
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 1026. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Annette Vadim
French postcard by E.D.U.G., Paris, no. 387. Photo: Sam Lévin.

By the time of the release of Et mourir de plaisir, the marriage of Annette and Roger Vadim was already over and they divorced in 1960. He moved on to Catherine Deneuve, she initially to singer-actor Sacha Distel. Subsequently she packed her bags and moved to Italy. As Annette Stroyberg, she made a handful of films under contract to Dino de Laurentiis, most notably the comedy Il carabiniere a cavallo/The Mounted Police (Carlo Lizzani, 1961) with Nino Manfredi, and Anima near/Black Soul (Roberto Rossellini, 1962). In the latter starred Vittorio Gassman as the black soul of the title, a wealthy bourgeois married to Stroyberg. However, when his past catches up with him - he had survived the war by seducing an SS officer - she walks out in disgust. Privately she was also linked for a couple of years to Gassman and she also had affairs with Alain Delon, Omar Sharif, and Warren Beatty. By the mid-1960‘s, however, she had had more than enough of the film world and its values. Her last film was Lo scippo/The Motorcycle Theft (Nando Cicero, 1965) with Gabriele Ferzetti and Margaret Lee. She married a French Moroccan, and enrolled at the Sorbonne university. She divided her time between Paris and North Africa. When this marriage also came to an end, she moved to America, where she later married a Greek shipping magnate, Gregory Callimanopulos. According to The Times: “after the break-up of her third marriage, Stroyberg returned to Europe in the early 1990‘s, living in Paris and Copenhagen, where she was part of the circle around Queen Margrethe and Prince Henrik. She was also close to Bardot, whom she visited often in the South of France, a certain difference in their political outlook notwithstanding.” All Vadim’s wives attended his funeral in 2000. Three years later Annette Stroyberg published a memoir which sold well in Denmark and France. At age 69, she died of cancer in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 2005. Her three children (one from each of her marriages) survived her. Her daughter by Vadim, Nathalie Vadim, became an assistant director of films and worked on her father's remake of And God Created Woman (Roger Vadim, 1988) starring Rebecca De Mornay.

Annette Vadim
Spanish postcard by Postalcolor, Barcelona, no. 106, 1964. Photo: Sirman Press.

American trailer of Et mourir de plaisir/Blood and Roses (1960). Source: TrailerFood (YouTube).

Scene from Et mourir de plaisir/Blood and Roses (1960). Source: Guy Conrad (YouTube).

Sources: Ronald Bergan (The Guardian), Kimberly Lindbergs (Cinebeats), Gary Brumburgh (IMDb), The Times, Wikipedia and IMDb.


Beth Niquette said...

Those eyes, those lips! What a tiny waist! She was indeed a delightful individual. They don't make 'em like they used to.

Happy PFF!!!

Anonymous said...

corset. lots of lipstick. eyeliner drawn out . bra that was pointy and everyone wore. (instead of the push up that everyone wears nowadays. THAT was the fashion then, that's all. there are many beautiful women today too, we just don't have the fashion sense like they once had.

Charla said...