26 December 2019

Yvette Lebon

French actress Yvette Lebon (1910-2014) appeared in 39 films between 1931 and 1972. Her beautiful eyes made her one of the most attractive faces of the French cinema of the 1930s.

Yvette Lebon
French postcard by unknown editor, no. 601.

Yvette Lebon
French postcard, no. 2. Photo: Carlet.

Yvette Lebon
French postcard, Paris, no. 717. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

Yvette Lebon
French postcard by Erpé, no. 211. Photo: Simson.

Yvette Lebon
French postcard by Editions S.E.R.P, Paris, no. 25. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

Love Interest

Yvette Lebon was born as Simone Lebon in Paris in 1910. She was a close relation of stage and film director Sacha Guitry.

Her film career started in 1931 with a small part in the romantic comedy Rive gauche/Left Bank (Alexander Korda, 1931) starring Meg Lemonnier. This was an alternative language version of the Paramount production Laughter (Harry d'Abbadie d'Arrast, 1930) starring Nancy Carroll.

Director Marc Allégret spotted her during an audition and gave her a supporting part in the musical Zouzou/Zou Zou (Marc Allégret, 1934) starring Josephine Baker.

Among Lebon’s other early films were the comedy Le Chéri de sa concierge/The Darling Of Her Caretaker (Giuseppe Guarino, 1934) with the young Fernandel, Divine (Max Ophüls, 1935) and the big hit Marinella (Pierre Caron, 1936) in which she played the love interest of popular singer Tino Rossi.

Her first leading role was in Les Mariages de Mademoiselle Lévy/Miss Levy's marriages (André Hugon, 1936).

The following years she appeared in the historical adventure film Michel Strogoff/Michael Strogoff (Jacques de Baroncelli, Richard Eichberg, 1936) featuring Adolf Wohlbruck (aka Anton Walbrook), the drama Abus de confiance/Abused Confidence (Henri Decoin, 1937) with Danielle Darrieux and Charles Vanel, and the war drama Gibraltar (Fyodor Otsep, 1938) starring Viviane Romance and Roger Duchesne. Duchesne became her first husband.

Yvette Lebon
French postcard by Editions Chantal, Paris, no. 601. Photo: Roger Kahan.

Yvette Lebon
French postcard by Editions O.P., Paris, no. 22. Photo: Star.

Yvette Lebon
French postcard by Erpé, no. 514. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

Yvette Lebon
French postcard by S.E.R.P., Paris, no. 72. Photo: Studio Harcourt.

Yvette Lebon
French postcard by A.N., Paris, no. 1083.

103rd Birthday

During the war years Yvette Lebon played in the comedy L'Homme qui cherche la vérité/The Man Who Looks for The Truth (Alexander Esway, 1940) with Raimu, the historical comedy-drama Le destin fabuleux de Désirée Clary/Mlle. Desiree (1942), directed by and starring her relative Sacha Guitry as Napoleon, and another historical film, Paméla (Pierre de Hérain, 1945) with Fernand Gravey and Renée Saint-Cyr.

At the time she was the mistress of journalist and politician Jean Luchaire. With his evening daily Les Nouveaux Temps, Luchaire supported the Vichy regime's Révolution nationale in 1940. In 1946 he was tried and executed.

After the war, Lebon could be seen in Monsieur Grégoire s'évade/Mr. Gregoire Runs Away (Jacques Daniel-Norman, 1946) with Bernard Blier, and Les Amours de Blanche Neige/The Loves Of Snow White (Edi Wieser, 1947).

From the 1950s on, she also performed for the Italian and Spanish cinema. Her international films include the adventure film Il boia di Lilla/Milady and the Musketeers (Vittorio Cottafavi, 1952) in which she played one of her best roles as Milady the Winter opposite Rossano Brazzi, the musical comedy Maruzzella (Luigi Capuano, 1956) featuring Marisa Allasio, and the Peplum Ulisse contro Ercole/Ulysses Against the Son of Hercules (Mario Caiano, 1962) starring Georges Marchal.

Her last appearance was in the film Je, tu, elles.../I, You, They (Peter Foldes, 1972). Yvette Lebon was married twice, first to actor Roger Duchesne and then to Belgian-American producer Nathan ‘Nat’ Wachsberger, till his death in 1992. Wachsberger produced some of the later films she appeared in, including La cavale/On the Lam (Michel Mitrani, 1971) with Juliet Berto.

Their son Patrick Wachsberger is also a producer, and on his resume are Mr. And Mrs. Smith (Doug Liman, 2005) with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, and Letters to Juliet (Gary Winick, 2010) with Amanda Seyfried and Gael García Bernal.

Yvette Lebon died in 2014 in Cannes, France. Lebon had turned 103 in August 2013, and was France's oldest surviving actress until her death. She is interred at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood Hills.

Yvette Lebon
French postcard by Viny, no. 69. Photo: Star.

Yvette Lebon
French postcard by Editions Chantal, Rueil, no. 2. Photo: C.C.F.C.

Yvette Lebon, Harcourt
French postcard, no. 101. Photo: Studio Harcourt, Paris.

Gérard Barray and Yvette Lebon in La máscara de Scaramouche (1963)
East-German postcard by Progress Film-Verleih, Berlin, no. 3034, 1968. Photo: publicity still for La máscara de Scaramouche/The Adventures of Scaramouche (Antonio Isasi-Isasmendi, 1963).

Sources: Music Man (Movie-Musical-World - French), Les légendes du cinéma (French), L'@ide-Mémoire (French), Wikipedia (English and French), and IMDb.

No comments: