French New Wave muse Marie-France Pisier found dead in pool

24th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

French New Wave cinema muse Marie-France Pisier was found dead in her swimming pool in the south of France on Sunday. She was 66 years old.

The investigating magistrate in the Mediterranean city of Toulon, near her villa at Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer, said her husband found her body in the pool at around 4:00 am.

The cause of death is being investigated, but foul play is not suspected, the prosecutor said.

The actress had been due to travel to the Cannes Film Festival next month for a homage to leading French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo.

Pisier's acting career began in 1961 after New Wave director Francois Truffaut saw her in a family photo taken in Nice.

Truffaut directed her in her first film, "Antoine and Colette," one of five short films that made up the 1962 omnibus "Love at Twenty".

She went on to play for renowned filmmakers Luis Bunuel, Jacques Rivette and especially Andre Techine.

Pisier won two Cesar awards -- the French equivalent of the Oscars -- for best supporting actress in Techine films, "Cousin, Cousine" in 1976 and "Barocco" in 1977.

She played opposite Belmondo in the 1982 action comedy "L'as des as".

Her performance in "Cousin, Cousine" and the film's success in the United States took her to Hollywood, where she starred in the 1978 romantic thriller "The Other Side of Midnight."

Vincent Perrot, who interviewed Pisier for a documentary about Belmondo, told RTL radio of his shock at hearing of her death.

"It's one of those things, you never see it coming, especially when you saw someone a few weeks before and they were in great shape," Perrot said.

"She was beautiful, radiant, extremely cultivated, very clever, playful, full of humour."

French President Nicolas Sarkozy hailed "a supreme elegance born from the most perfect simplicity," said a statement from his office.

© 2011 AFP

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