24 July 2015

Geneviève Grad

Blond French actress Geneviève Grad (1944) is best known as the daughter of Louis de Funès in the first three films of the Gendarme of Saint-Tropez series of the 1960s. In the late 1960s she made some erotic films.

Geneviève Grad
French postcard by E.D.U.G, no. 325, presented by Corvisart, Epinal. Photo: Sam Lévin.

Geneviève Grad
Spanish postcard by Torro de Bronce, no. 196. Photo: Unifrance Film / Sam Lévin.

The Gendarme's beautiful daughter

Geneviève Gabrielle Grad was born in 1944 in Paris. Her father was a typographer for the newspaper France-Soir. She trained in dance, but at 15 she was spotted for the film.

She made her film debut as an extra in Les dragueurs/The Dredgers (Jean-Pierre Mocky, 1959) starring Jacques Charrier and Charles Aznavour. She changed her career plans and took acting classes from Beatrice Dussanne.

Geneviève played the teenage daughter of Martine Carol in in the crime drama Un Soir sur le plage/One Night at the Beach (Michel Boisrond, 1961). That same year, she played the female lead in the French swashbuckler Le Capitaine Fracasse/Captain Fracasse (Pierre Gaspard-Huit, 1961), featuring Jean Marais and Philippe Noiret.

In Italy, she starred in the Peplum Il conquistatore di Corinto/The Centurion (Mario Costa, 1961) set in 146 BC in Greece. In this French/Italian historical drama, set against the back-drop of the Battle of Corinth, she played Hebe, the daughter of a local governor with anti-Roman sentiments, who falls in love with a Roman centurion named Caius Vinicius (Jacques Sernas). She stayed in Italy for I normanni/Attack of the Normans (Giuseppe Vari, 1962), set in England in the early 9th century. Viking incursions play a central role in this film starring Cameron Mitchell.

Grad also participated in another European genre of the 1960s, the Eurospy film. She co-starred in the French thriller Gibraltar (Pierre Gaspard-Huit, 1964) with Hildegard Knef and Gérard Barray, who played a secret agent going undercover to infiltrate smugglers between Tangiers and Gibraltar.

Then she played her best known role Nicole Cruchot, the beautiful daughter of Marshal Ludovic Cruchot (Louis de Funès) in the comedy Le gendarme de Saint-Tropez/The Troops of St. Tropez (Jean Girault, 1964). It is was the first film in The gendarme series, comedies situated in Saint-Tropez, a fashionable resort on the French Riviera.

Le gendarme de Saint-Tropez was a huge box office hit and spawned five sequels. Grad only appeared in the first three films. The other two were: Le gendarme à New York/Gendarme in New York (Jean Girault, 1965) and Le gendarme se marie/The Gendarme Gets Married (Jean Girault, 1968). She also recorded the songs Douliou Douliou Saint-Tropez (1964) and Les Garçons, les filles et l'amour (The boys, the girls and love) (1966).

Geneviève Grad
Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin, no. 130.

Louis de Funès
Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin, no. 294. Retail price: 1,50 Lei. Photo: publicity shot for Le gendarme se marie/The Gendarme Gets Married (Jean Girault, 1968) with Louis de Funès and Geneviève Grad.

The era of sexual liberation

Geneviève Grad had a nervous breakdown and retired for a while. She departed from her image as the beautiful daughter of De Funès with her next films.

In the era of sexual liberation and social revolution, she played a lead role in the French film Flash Love, with Paul Guers as her partner. The film was first limited released in 1968, got a wider release in 1972 and was re-released in 1977 as Libertés sexuelles/Love-Making: Hot Style (Max Kalifa, 1977).

She also played the lead role in the Brazilian-French drama O Palácio dos Anjos/Palais des anges érotiques et des plaisirs secrets/The Palace of Angels (Walter Hugo Khouri, 1970) with Luc Merenda. The film, about a French girl living in São Paulo, who decides with two friends to transform a little apartment into a luxury bordello, was entered into the 1970 Cannes Film Festival.

Apart from these films, she appeared on stage and in several made for TV films and TV series during the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s. Grad - not yet 40 - made her final film in 1983. She played a supporting part in the Darry Cowl comedy Ça va pas être triste/It's going to be sad (Pierre Sisser, 1983).

Later, she worked as a production assistant for TV 1, as an antiques dealer and for the city of Vendôme. Geneviève Grad has a son, Dimitri Bogdanoff (1976), with former boyfriend, Igor Bogdanoff, a controversial scientist and television-show host.

Since 1993, Geneviève Grad is married to architect Jean Guillaume. They live in Vendôme in France.

Geneviève Grad
Spanish postcard by Editorial Filasol in the series Sexy vintage girls.

Trailer for Sandokan, la tigre di Mompracem/Sandokan the Great (Umberto Lenzi, 1963) with Steve Reeves. Source: Sleaze-O-Rama (YouTube).

Geneviève Grad sings Douliou Douliou Saint-Tropez in Le gendarme de Saint-Tropez (1964). Source: SuperCanopus (YouTube).

Sources: Biosstars (French), Wikipedia (French and English), and IMDb.

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