Leslie Caron: “I think actors today are very accomplished”

Despite an international career in films on both sides of the Atlantic which started in the early 1950s, Leslie Caron is still regarded as one of the best screen actresses of the delightful MGM musicals of the 1950s. No wonder, considering she made a stunning film debut opposite Gene Kelly as Lise Bourvier in “An American in Paris” (1951), introduced the song ‘Hi Lili, Hi Lo’ in the enchanting “Lili” (1953), played Fred Astaire’s dynamic counterpart in “Daddy Long Legs” (1956, made on loan to Fox) and portrayed a French girl who’s groomed to be a courtesan in the delightful turn-of-the-century musical “Gigi” (1958) – although this is just the tip of the iceberg, really.

Miss Caron, a charming, charismatic, bright and intelligent actress, had been living in Paris for several decades when I met her for this interview in 1999 in her spacious and nicely designed apartment, after she had just returned from Japan where she had attended a film festival. At that time, she was less frequently in the international spotlights compared to the 1950s or the 1960s, but at age 68 then, she was still as energetic as ever, travelling the world, attending film festivals. And now, in her early 80s, she still seems to be doing great!

Born Leslie Claire Margaret Caron on July 1, 1931 in Boulogne-Billancourt (near Paris, France), she was the daughter of Claude Caron, a French chemist, and Margaret Petit, born in Topeka, Kansas, who trained in ballet in Seattle and initially had success in New York, but after her marriage she settled in France to raise her two children. Although everybody is familiar with Miss Caron as a leading actress, she was originally a ballet dancer at Roland Petit’s Ballet des Champs Elysées.

Leslie Caron 3 scan American in Paris posterYou were discovered by Gene Kelly, weren’t you?

Yes. He attended the première of a ballet called ‘La Rencontre’ about ‘Oedipus and the Sphinx’, I played the Sphinx, the great Jean Babilee was Oedipus. It was an outstanding event at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées. About a year later he needed a co-star for “An American in Paris”; he remembered me and came back to Paris for auditions. I was a ballet dancer; I had studied since the age of 8 and spent two years at the Conservatoire of Ballet. I was exclusively a classical ballet dancer and had no ambition to become a film actress, it didn’t really interest me. So it all happened by accident.

When you arrived in Hollywood at age 18, were you ready to step into this glamorous world of the American film industry?

I flew in with my mother and the first evening we were there, my agent invited us to have dinner at ‘La Rue’, a fashionable restaurant. Well, I wasn’t even able to finish my meal, they gave me a steak twice as large as the whole plate. My first impression was that it was all too much: too much to eat, too many smiles, they were too generous for a young girl coming from a country still recovering from the war. When leaving the restaurant, Gregory Peck was waiting outside for his car. I felt like a little girl standing before Santa Claus (laughs). Since I was a minor, my mother had accompanied me to Los Angeles and stayed there for the first three months; in the beginning, my salary was very low. I had a seven year contract and earned the same as a secretary: $ 125 a week in the beginning, the second year it was raised to $ 145, then $ 165. Each year it was raised a little. It was nothing compared to the salaries stars earn today. We were booked by my agent at a very luxurious hotel, the Beverly Wilshire, and the first day, we had nearly spent my first week’s salary. My mother said it was impossible to go on like this; the next morning at 6:00 AM she moved us to another hotel, close to the studio, in a very cheap neighborhood. It was the Culver Hotel, not a respectable hotel (laughs). A few days later my mother called Gene Kelly who exploded on the phone, saying, ‘Where are you?! We were terribly worried, we didn’t know where you were! Where are you now?’ ‘At the Culver Hotel.’ ‘WHAT? If the press finds out, it will be a scandal!’ My mother just did what seemed to be very logical: to live according to our budget.

Leslie Caron 4 scan Gigi posterSo you made “An American in Paris” which became a legendary musical, and later you were the star in “Gigi” [1958], another Hollywood classic. Is it correct to say that “West Side Story”, released only three years after “Gigi”, marked the end of the old Hollywood musicals and introduced an entirely new approach?

The average musical comedy never had the ambition to be intellectual or literary, whereas “Gigi” was clearly on a higher level, it was a new concept of musical comedy. When I arrived in Hollywood in 1950, the musical comedy was considered to be a genre without any kind of noblesse. The story was just a pretext for the numbers in the film. Already “An American in Paris” had a more ambitious text. “West Side Story” changed this concept drastically as it was in fact a modern version of ‘Romeo and Juliette’ with a social message, something “Gigi” also brought.

And from then on, you gradually expanded your own repertoire as well with dramatic parts, proving you didn’t need dancing shoes to keep moviegoers fascinated?

The musicals kept on repeating themselves. The public got tired of it, and when all of a sudden dramatic films like “On the Waterfront” [1954] were released; they immediately appealed to the public. I believe that musical comedies ceased to exist for economic reasons, and more precisely when “Cleopatra” [1963] got made. That was the first film for which an actor got paid a million dollars. When the other actors heard that Liz Taylor earned a million dollars for “Cleopatra”, they all wanted to get out of their contract. It meant the end of the studio system; don’t forget that the studios were only able to make those musicals at a time when everybody was under contract and got little money. The members of the orchestra were under contract, as were composers, lyricists, screenwriters,… A studio was in fact a factory with a structure to make those musicals. When those performers asked to be released from their contract, musicals became prohibitive. That, along with the audience losing interest, caused the decline of the genre.

What about your contract? When did it end?

That was in 1958, the studio and I settled for one more film after “Gigi”. Yes, I felt liberated since I didn’t like the restrictions imposed by the studios. Again, you could compare a studio to a factory, they told you what films to make. I was too independent to accept such control easily. I turned down three films, even though I wasn’t allowed to do it: “Give a Girl a Break” [1954] with Gower Champion, “Les Girls” [1957] directed by George Cukor and a film with Clark Gable of which I can’t remember the title. I felt I couldn’t help those films. As for “Les Girls”, I didn’t feel I could play a coquette.

Leslie Caron 5 scan The L-Shaped Room posterThen you began playing powerful dramatic parts, including “Doctor’s Dilemma” from a play by George Bernard Shaw, Joshua Logan’s “Fanny” [1961], and “The L-Shaped Room” [1962], a tender study of loneliness and frustrated love, which earned you a second Academy Award nomination, as well as a second British Film Academy Award and the New York Film Critics Award. Very impressive.

Acting interested me passionately. I had taken acting lessons with George Shdanoff, a marvellous professor who had been a student at the Stanislavski school in Moscow, he was a remarkable man. Actress Betsy Blair, at the time married to Gene Kelly, was one of his students; after “An American in Paris” she knew I wanted to play dramatic roles as well as comedy, she recommended this professor. I worked with him for four years, three or four times a week. And he taught me all that I knew and know. After a few months working with him, I felt more professional, I knew how to prepare for a part or for a scene. The first result was “Lili” [1953], for that film we worked a lot together.

You worked with so many talented and powerful film directors, both European and American. Do you like to be directed when you appear on the set?

Nanni Loy is one of the few directors who really directed me, the other one is Louis Malle. I like being directed: if the director is good, it’s wonderful. I enjoyed very much working with Louis Malle, he was so subtle and sensitive. I need to be directed because I never know what is too much, too little, too fast, too slow. It’s very difficult to direct yourself, I could never do that, so I welcome a director who knows what he wants.

Which other directors did you enjoy working with?

I loved working with Vincente Minnelli, he was elegant, graceful and charming. His very presence was enough to make you want to give your best. He did not give you elaborate directions, but his very presence inspired you to act the way he wanted and in any case he would go on filming until he thought it was good.

Leslie Caron 6 scan Glory Alley poster
The Belgian poster of “Morning Glory” (1952), one of Leslie Caron’s early films at MGM, directed by film veteran Raoul Walsh (1887-1980)

What about veteran Raoul Walsh, who directed you in “Glory Alley” [1952]?

Raoul Walsh didn’t direct all that much, he just told you, ‘Faster!’ That’s all he said (laughs). I understand he was very good in action films, but I can’t say that I had an unforgettable souvenir of being directed by him. He very often wasn’t even there, he was in the coffee shop in the back of the stage, listening only. Peter Chelsom, who directed the remarkable “Funny Bones” [1995], was an actor and he really knows how to direct actors. Bryan Forbes who directed “The L-Shaped Room” also used to be an actor, so he’s very knowledgeable about acting. But usually it is best to know your job and to be prepared. Usually the director is very happy to use whatever you have prepared.

With your background and experience, what is your opinion about the young actors that dominate the screen today?

I think actors today are very accomplished, more so than when I arrived in Hollywood. When I started, serious acting was regarded with suspicion, the profession was very wary of stage actors, they thought these actors were arty, they were not for the movies. The public has also become more adult and knowledgeable, they accept to see the top stars like Robert De Niro playing a bum or a killer and it’s still Robert De Niro. The same can be said of Anthony Hopkins. He doesn’t lose his stature, but Cary Grant or Gary Cooper could not have played murderers. So the public has changed for the better and so have the stars. In the beginning, movies were made for the masses, the working class only. It was considered a very minor form of entertainment. Intellectuals and educated people did not go to the movies – I’m talking about the beginning of the century. Even if you read the mémoires of Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, they tell you how cinema was frowned upon by intellectuals until, slowly, everything evolved and then, in France at least, cinema was a tool for the intellectuals to express themselves, their ideas and their politics. It finally happened in America too and the films of Elia Kazan always had a social background and raison d’être, not just entertainment. Little by little the public learned and became more mature.

Did you ever consider of putting your ideas in a film as a director?

Yes, I thought for a while of directing a film. I wrote about three scripts which were never done, but there’s a limit as to how much you can evolve (laughs). Ten years ago I was ready to direct, but it didn’t happen and it’s just as well. I think basically you do one thing well. A lot of actors are very frustrated because as an actor you always receive orders, you’re always directed like a child at school, all the technicians tell you, ‘A bit forward, a bit backward, you didn’t reach your mark, you didn’t hit your light, we didn’t hear you’, and the director says, ‘Now do this, do that.’ Actors very often get frustrated and would like to show that they can create as well. So it happens that actors direct a film. Marlon Brando did one film, Paul Newman did a few, Robert De Niro did one, Charles Laughton did “Night of the Hunter” [1955], a magnificent film, I could go on and on. A lot of actors did one film and then I suppose they realized that their real and rare skill was acting. Being able to portray in front of the camera is so hard, difficult and rare, so if you have the face, the soul and technique to express yourself, you should stick to it. Although, perhaps you have to get your frustration out of your system! (Laughs).

What does it take to be a good actor or actress, besides talent? Flexibility?

Certainly. You have to be somebody who can feel things, to begin with. You have to be somebody who can emote. There are all sorts of actors. Some actors act bravely, other actors act small but real, there are great comedians, great tragedians, every kind. So you can’t generalise. But it does take a terrific concentration. To me, the best actors in the last twenty years are Robert De Niro, Anthony Hopkins, Jeanne Moreau and Meryl Streep, because of an incredibly tight nervous system. They get so totally immersed in the parts they play, that they become somebody else.

Leslie Caron 7 scan Chocolat poster
Swedish director Lasse Hallström’s heartwarming critical and commercial success “Cocolat” (2000) starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp, with Leslie Caron in a supporting role

What about présence?

You don’t work on présence. Présence is a matter of doing a 100 % what you’re doing. If you don’t have présence, if you don’t interest the camera, if the camera does not pick up your emotions, your thoughts, then it’s hopeless, there’s nothing to be done. You can’t work on présence: either the camera goes inside you, or it doesn’t. Your thoughts must be so strong that they just burst forth, like a bullet. When Meryl Streep plays a scene, she is thinking and that’s what it takes. Concentration, thoughts and total immersion in the part or in the scene. There are plenty of young people who have that. They all learn acting now, as against in the old days when it was thought it was better not to learn acting. Now actors come usually from the stage or from a school. Some of the best actors I found, were in Poland, where I worked with Zanussi. You have walk-ons who could play Hamlet. They were fabulous. Why? Because they’ve gone through acting school, they could act on the stage, they knew the fundamentals of acting, it’s a profession that you learn. But as far as charisma and beauty, you can’t teach that. Charisma cannot be taught.

scannen0044
Thank God for ‘Thank Heaven: A Memoir’ (2009), the autobiography of Leslie Caron

You have a hugely impressive career as a multi-talented actress. Despite all your success, do you maybe have any regrets career wise?

Well, for a long time I just wasn’t ready to play adult parts. I had limitations, I looked like an adolescent. Also I was too famous as an adolescent. It’s very difficult to step in another category. In fact I think that I did not really play women in the ages of twenty or thirty, except for a few. I mostly jumped from playing adolescents to playing women in their forties, fifties.

Have you ever considered of writing your mémoires?

Yes, I’ve started, and stopped for the time being. Strangely enough I don’t think I have so much to say about films. I can’t make historical comments about Hollywood, probably because I lived through it. Film historians can talk better about films than me. [Fortunately, she reconsidered, finished her memoires and published them in 2009: ‘Thank Heaven: A Memoir’]

Paris, France
March 13, 1999

FILMS

AN AMERICAN IN PARIS (MGM, 1951) DIR Vincente Minnelli PROD Arthur Freed SCR Alan Jay Lerner (also story) CAM Alfred Gilks ED Adrienne Fazan MUS Johnny Green, Saul Chaplin CAST Gene Kelly (Jerry Mulligan), Leslie Caron (Lise Bouvier), Oscar Levant (Adam Cook), Georges Guetary (Henri Baurel), Nina Foch (Milo Roberts), Eugene Borden (Georges Matthieu)

THE MAN WITH A CLOAK (MGM, 1951) DIR Fletcher Markle PROD Stephen Ames SCR Frank Fenton (story by John Dickson Carr) CAM George J Folsey ED Newell P Kimlin MUS David Raksin CAST Joseph Cotten (Dupin), Barbara Stanwyck (Lorna Bounty), Louis Calhern (Thevenet), Jim Backus (Flaherty), Margaret Wycherly (Mrs Flynn), Leslie Caron (Madeline Minot)

GLORY ALLEY (MGM, 1952) DIR Raoul Walsh PROD Nicholas Nayfack SCR Art Cohn (also story) CAM William Daniels ED Gene Ruggiero MUS Georgie Stoll CAST Ralph Meeker (Socks Barbarrosa), Leslie Caron (Angela), Kurt Kasznar (The Judge), Gilbert Roland (Peppi Donnato), John McIntire (Gabe Jordan), Louis Armstrong (Shadow Johnson)

THE STORY OF THREE LOVES (MGM, 1953) PROD Sidney Franklin CAM Charles Rosher, Harold Rosson ED Ralph E Winters MUS Miklos Rozsa. Episode 1, ‘The Jealous Lover’ DIR Gottfried Reinhardt SCR John Collier CAST James Mason (Charles Coutray), Moira Shearer (Paula Woodward) – Episode 2, ‘Mademoiselle’ DIR Vincente Minnelli SCR Jan Lustig, George Froeschel (story by Arnold Phillips) CAST Ethel Barrymore (Mrs Pennicott), Leslie Caron (Mademoiselle), Farley Granger (Tommy), Ricky Nelson (Tommy, age 12), Zsa Zsa Gabor (Girl at Bar) – Episode 3, ‘Equilibrium’ DIR Gottfried Reinhardt SCR John Collier (story by Ladislav Vajda, Jacques Maret) CAST Pier Angeli (Nina), Kirk Douglas (Pierre Narval)

LILI (MGM, 1953) DIR Charles Walters PROD Edwin H Knopf SCR Helen Deutsch (story by Paul Gallico) CAM Robert F Planck ED Ferris Webster MUS Bronislau Kaper CAST Leslie Caron (Lili Daurier), Mel Ferrer (Paul Berthalet), Jean-Pierre Aumont (Marc), Zsa Zsa Gabor (Rosalie), Kurt Kasznar (Jacquot), Amanda Blake (Peach Lips)

THE GLASS SLIPPER (MGM, 1955) DIR Charles Walters PROD Edwin H Knopf SCR Helen Deutsch CAM Arthur E Arling ED Ferris Webster MUS Bronislau Kaper CAST Leslie Caron (Ella), Michael Wilding (Prince Charles), Keenan Wynn (Kovin), Estelle Winwood (Mrs Toquet), Elsa Lanchester (Widow Sonder), Barry Jones (Duke)

DADDY LONG LEGS (20th Century Fox, 1955) DIR Jean Negulesco PROD Samuel G Engel SCR Phoebe Ephron, Henry Ephron (novel by Jean Webster) CAM Leon Shamroy ED William Reynolds MUS AlfrED Newman CAST Fred Astaire (Jervis Pendleton), Leslie Caron (Julie), Terry Moore (Linda), Thelma Ritter (Miss Pritchard), Fred Clark (Griggs), Charlotte Austin (Sally)

GABY (MGM, 1956) DIR Curtis Bernhardt PROD Edwin H Knopf SCR Albert Hackett, Frances Goodrich, Charles Lederer (based on the screenplay of WATERLOO BRIDGE [1940] by S.N Behrman, Paul H Rameau, George Froeschel, from the play by Robert Sherwood) CAM Robert F Plank ED John McSweeney, Jr. MUS Conrad Salinger CAST Leslie Caron (Gaby), John Kerr (Gregory Y Wendell), Cedric Hardwicke (Mr Carrington), Taina Elg (Elsa), Margalo Gillmore (Mrs Carrington), Scott Marlowe (Jan)

GIGI (MGM, 1958) DIR Vincente Minnelli PROD Arthur Freed SCR Alan Jay Lerner (novel by Colette) CAM Joseph Ruttenberg ED Adrienne Fazan MUS André Previn CAST Leslie Caron (Gigi), Maurice Chevalier (Honore Lachaille), Louis Jourdan (Gaston Lachaille), Hermione Gingold (Mme Alvarez), Eva Gabor (Liane D’Exelmans), Jacques Bergerac (Sandomir)

THE DOCTOR’S DILEMMA (MGM, 1959) DIR Anthony Asquith PROD Anatole de Grunwald SCR Anatole de Grunwald (play by George Bernard Shaw) CAM Robert Krasker ED Gordon Hales MUS Joseph Kosma CAST Leslie Caron (Mrs Dubedat), Dirk Bogarde (Louis Dubedat), Alistair Slim (Cutler Walpole), Robert Morley (Sir Ralph Bloomfield-Bonington), John Robinson (Sir Colenso Ridgeon), Felix Aymler (Sir Patrick Cullen)

THE MAN WHO UNTERSTOOD WOMEN (20th Century Fox, 1959) DIR – PROD Nunnally Johnson SCR Nunnally Johnson (novel by Romain Gary) CAM Milton Krasner ED Charles LeMaire MUS Robert Emmett Dolan CAST Leslie Caron (Ann), Henry Fonda (Willie), Cesare Danova (Marco Ranieri), Byron McCormick (Preacher), Marcel Dalio (Le Marne), Conrad Nagel (G.K.)

AUSTERLITZ (Lux, 1960) DIR – SCR Abel Gance CAM Henri Alekan, Robert Juillard ED Leonide Azar, Yvonne Martin MUS Jean Ledrut CAST Pierre Mondy (Napoleon Bonaparte), Orson Welles (Robert Fulton), Rossano Brazzi (Lucien Bonaparte), Claudia Cardinale (Pauline), Martine Carol (Josephine), Leslie Caron (Mlle De Vaudey)

THE SUBTERRANEANS (MGM, 1960) DIR Ranald MacDougall PROD Arthur Freed SCR Robert Thom (novel by Jack Kerouac) CAM Joseph Ruttenberg ED Ben Lewis MUS André Previn CAST Leslie Caron (Mardou Fox), George Peppard (Leo Percepied), Janice Rule (Roxanne), Roddy McDowall (Yuri Gligoric), Anne Seymour (Charlotte Percepied), Jim Hutton (Adam Moorad)

FANNY (Warner Bros., 1961) DIR – PROD Joshua Logan SCR Julius J Epstein (play by Joshua Logan, S.N Behrman, Harold Rome, based on play by Marcel Pagnol) CAM Jack Cardiff ED William Reynolds MUS Morris Stoloff CAST Leslie Caron (Fanny), Maurice Chevalier (Panisse), Charles Boyer (César), Horst Buchholz (Marius), Salvatore Baccaloni (Escartefigue), Georgette Anys (Honorine)

GUNS OF DARKNESS (Warner Bros., 1962) DIR Anthony Asquith PROD Thomas Clyde SCR John Mortimer (novel by Francis Clifford) CAM Robert Krasker ED Frederick Wilson MUS Benjamin Frankel CAST Leslie Caron (Claire Jordan), David Niven (Tom Jordan), David Opatoshu (President Rivera), James Robertson-Justice (Hugo Bryant), Eleanor Summerfield (Mrs Bastian), Ian Hunter (Dr Swann)

THE L-SHAPED ROOM (Columbia, 1962) DIR Bryan Forbes PROD Richard Attenborough, James Woolf SCR Bryan Forbes (novel by Lynne Reid Banks) CAM Douglas Slocombe ED Anthony Harvey MUS John Barry CAST Leslie Caron (Jane), Tom Bell (Toby), Brock Peters (Johnny), Cicely Courtneidge (Mavis), Bernard Lee (Charlie), Avis Bunnage (Doris)

LES QUATRE VÉRITÉS, a.k.a THREE FABLES OF LOVE (Janus, 1962) DIR Alessandro Blasetti, Herve Bromberger, René Clair PROD Gilbert de Goldschmidt SCR Frédéric Grendel, Herve Bromberger CAM Armand Thirard ED Denise Natot CAST Monica Vitti (Madeleine), Sylva Koscina (Miaz), Rossano Brazzi (Leo), Michel Serrault (Crow), Charles Aznavour (Charles), Leslie Caron (Annie)

FATHER GOOSE (Universal, 1964) DIR Ralph Nelson PROD Robert Arthur SCR Peter Stone, Frank Tarloff CAM Charles Lang Jr ED Ted J. Kent MUS Cy Coleman CAST Cary Grant (Walter Eckland), Leslie Caron (Catherine Freneau), Trevor Howard (Com Frank Houghton), Jack Good (Lt Stebbins), Verina Greenlaw (Christine), Pip Sparke (Anne)

A VERY SPECIAL FAVOR (Universal, 1965) DIR Michael Gordon PROD Stanley Shapiro SCR Stanley Shapiro, Nate Monaster (also story) CAM Leo Tover ED Russell F Schoengarth MUS Vic Mizzy CAST Rock Hudson (Paul Chadwick), Leslie Caron (Lauren Boullard), Charles Boyer (Michel Boullard), Walter Slezak (Etienne), Dick Shawn (Arnold Plum), Larry Storch (Harry)

PROMISE HER ANYTHING (Paramount, 1966) DIR Arthur Hiller PROD Stanley Rubin SCR William Peter Blatty (story by Arne Sultan, Marvin Worth) CAM Douglas Slocombe ED John Shirley MUS Lyn Murray CAST Warren Beatty (Harley Rummel), Leslie Caron (Michelle O’Brien), Bob Cummings (Dr Peter Brock), Keenan Wynn (Angelo Carelli), Hermione Gingold (Mrs Luce), Lionel Stander (Sam)

IS PARIS BURNING?, a.k.a PARIS BRÛLE-T-IL? (Paramount, 1966) DIR René Clément PROD Paul Graetz SCR Gore Vidal, Francis Ford Coppola (novel by Larry Collins, Dominique Lapierre) CAM Marcel Grignon ED Robert Lawrence MUS Maurice Jarre CAST Jean-Paul Belmondo (Morandat), Charles Boyer (Monod), Leslie Caron (Françoise Labe), Alain Delon (Jacques Chaban-Delmas), Kirk Douglas (Gen Patton), Glenn Ford (Gen Bradley), Yves Montand (Marcel Bizien), Anthony Perkins (Sgt Warren), Simone Signoret (Café Owner), Orson Welles (Consul Nordling)

IL PADRE DI FAMIGLIA, a.k.a THE HEAD OF THE FAMILY (Allied Artists, 1968) DIR Nanni Loy PROD Turi Vasile SCR Nanni Loy, Ruggero Maccari (story by Nanni Loy, Giorgio Arlorio, Ruggero Maccari) CAM Armando Nannuzzi ED Franco Franticelli MUS Carlo Rustichelli CAST Leslie Caron (Paola), Nino Manfredi (Marco), Claudine Auger (Adriana), Ugo Tognazzi (Romeo), Evi Maltagliati (Luisa), Sergio Tofano (General)

MADRON (Four Star Excelsior, 1970) DIR Jerry Hopper PROD Eric Weaver, Emanuel Henigman SCR Leo McMahon, Edward Chappell (story by Leo McMahon) CAM Marcel Grignon, Adam Greenberg ED Renzo Lucidi MUS Riz Ortolani CAST Richard Boone (Madron), Leslie Caron (Sister Mary), Gabi Amrani (Angel), Chaim Banai (Sam Red), Paul Smith (Gabe Price), Aharon Ipale (Singer)

CHANDLER (MGM, 1971) DIR Paul Magwood PROD Michael S Laughlin SCR John Sacret Young (story by Paul Magwood) CAM Alan Stensvold ED Richard Harris, William B Gulick MUS George Romanis CAST Warren Oates (Chandler), Leslie Caron (Katherine), Alex Dreier (Carmady), Gloria Grahame (Selma), Mitchell Ryan (Chuck), Lal Baum (Thug)

SERIAL (Caribou, 1976) DIR Eduardo DeGregorio SCR Eduardo DeGregorio, Michael Graham CAM Ricardo Aronovitch ED Alberto Yaccelini MUS Michel Portal CAST Leslie Caron (Celeste), Bulle Ogier (Ariane), Marie-France Pisier (Agathe), Corin Redgrave (Eric)

L’HOMME QUI AMAIT LES FEMMES, a.k.a THE MAN WHO LOVED WOMEN (1977) DIR François Truffaut SCR François Truffaut, Michel Fermaud, Suzanne Schiffman CAM Nestor Almendros ED Martine Barraque-Curie MUS Maurice Jaubert CAST Leslie Caron (Vera), Charles Denner (Bertrand Morane), Brigitte Fossey (Genevieve Bigey), Nelly Borgeaud (Delphine Grezel), Genevieve Fontanel (Helene), Nathalie Baye (Martine Desdoits)

VALENTINO (United Artists, 1977) DIR Ken Russell PROD Irwin Winkler, Robert Chartoff SCR Ken Russell, Mardik Martin CAM Peter Suschitsky ED Stuart Baird MUS Ferde Grofe CAST Rudolf Nureyev (Rudolph Valentino), Leslie Caron (Alla Nazimova), Michelle Phillips (Natasha Rambova), Carol Kane (“Fatty’s” Girl), Felicity Kendal (June Mathis), Seymour Cassel (George Ullman)

NICOLE (1978) DIR István Ventilla PROD Michael S. Laughlin SCR István Ventilla (story by István Ventilla, Louis Horvath) CAM Louis Horvath CAST Leslie Caron (Nicole), Catherine Bach (Sue), Bruce Graziano (Fletcher), Ramon Bieri (Malcolm)

GOLDENGIRL (Avco Embassy, 1979) DIR Joseph Sargent PROD Danny O’Donovan SCR John Kohn (novel by Peter Lear) CAM Stevan Larner ED George Nicholson MUS Bill Conti CAST Susan Anton (Goldengirl), James Coburn (Dryden), Curt Jurgens (Serafin), Leslie Caron (Dr Lee), Robert Culp (Esselton), Harry Guardino (Valenti)

TOUS VEDETTES, a.k.a ALL STARS (1980) DIR – SCR Michel Lang PROD Alain Poire CAM Daniel Gaudry ED Helene Plemiannikov MUS Mort Shuman CAST Leslie Caron, Remi Laurent, Kitty Kortes-Lynch, Jerome Foulon, Françoise Pinaud, Robert Webber

KONTRAKT, a.k.a CONTRACT (New Yorker, 1980) DIR – SCR Krzysztof Zanussi CAM Slawomir Idziak ED Urszula Sliwinska MUS Wojciech Kilar CAST Maja Komorowska (Dorota), Tadeusz Lomnicki (Adam), Leslie Caron (Penelope), Magda Jaroszowna (Lilka), Krzysztof Kolberger (Poitr), Zofia Mrozowska (Maria)

IMPERATIV, a.k.a IMPERATIVE (TeleCulture, 1982) DIR – SCR Krzysztof Zanussi CAM Slawomir Idziak ED Liesgret Schmitt-Klink MUS Wojciech Kilar CAST Robert Powell (Augustin), Brigitte Fossey (Yvonne), Sigfrit Steiner (Professor), Matthias Habich (Theologist), Leslie Caron (Mother)

LA DIAGONALE DU FOU, a.k.a DANGEROUS MOVES (1984) DIR – SCR Richard Dembo PROD Arthur Cohn CAM Raoul Coutard ED Agnes Guillemot MUS Gabriel Yared CAST Michel Piccoli (Liebskind), Liv Ullmann (Marina), Leslie Caron (Henia), Alexandre Arbatt (Fromm), Daniel Olbrychski (Tac-Tac), Michel Aumont (Kerrossian).

UNAPPROACHABLE, a.k.a THE UNAPPROACHABLE (TeleCulture, 1984) DIR Krzysztof Zanussi SCR Krzysztof Zanussi, Edward Zebrowski CAM Slawomir Idziak ED Inge Behrens, Karin Nowarra MUS Wojciech Kilar CAST Leslie Caron (Claudia), Daniel Webb (Photographer), Leslie Malton (Marianne)

GUÉRRIERS ET CAPTIVES, a.k.a WARRIORS AND SINNERS (1989) DIR – SCR Edgardo Cozarinsky CAST Dominique Sanda, Leslie Caron, Duiloio Marzio, Carlos Merola

COURAGE MOUNTAIN (Triumph, 1989) DIR Christopher Leitch PROD Stephen Ujlaki SCR Weaver Webb (story by Fred Brogger) CAM Jacques Steyn ED Martin Walsh MUS Sylvester Levay CAST Juliette Caton (Heidi), Joanna Clarke (Ursula), Nicola Stapleton (Ilsa), Jade Magri (Clarissa), Charlie Sheen (Peter), Leslie Caron (Jane Hillary)

DAMAGE, a.k.a FATALE (Entertainment, 1992) DIR – PROD Louis Malle SCR David Hare (novel by Josephine Hart) CAM Peter Biziou ED John Bloom MUS Zbigniew Preisner CAST Jeremy Irons (Stephen Fleming), Juliette Binoche (Anna Barton), Miranda Richardson (Ingrid Fleming), Rupert Graves (Martyn Fleming), Leslie Caron (Elizabeth Prideaux)

LET IT BE ME (1995) DIR – SCR Eleanor Bergstein CAST Patrick Stewart (John), Campbell Scott (Gabriel), Jennifer Beals (Emily), Yancy Butler (Corinne), Jamie Goodwin (Bud), Leslie Caron (Marguerite)

FUNNY BONES (Hollywood Pictures, 1995) DIR Peter Chelsom PROD Peter Chelsom, Simon Fields SCR Peter Chelsom, Peter Flannery CAM Eduardo Serra ED Martin Walsh MUS John Altman CAST Oliver Platt (Tommy Fawkes), Lee Evans (Jack Parker), Richard Griffiths (Jim Minty), Oliver Reed (Dolly Hopkins), Leslie Caron (Katie Parker), Jerry Lewis (George Fawkes)

THE REEF (1997) DIR Robert Allan Ackerman SCR William Hanley (novel by Edith Wharton) CAST Sela Ward (Anna Leath), Timothy Dalton (George Darrow), Alicia Witt (Sophy Viner), Jamie Glover (Owen Leath), Leslie Caron (Régine De Chantelle)

CHOCOLAT (2000) DIR Lasse Hallström SCR Joanne Harris, Robert Nelson Jacobs (novel by Joanne Harris) CAM Roger Pratt ED Andrew Mondshein MUS Rachel Portman, Gabriel Yared CAST Juliette Binoche (Vianne Rocher), Victoire Thivisol (Anouk Rocher), Johnny Depp (Roux), Alfred Molina (Comte de Reynaud), Leslie Caron (Madame Audel)

LE DIVORCE (2003) DIR James Ivory PROD Ismail Merchant, Michael Schiffer SCR James Ivory, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Diane Johnson (novel by Diane Johnson) MUS Richard Robbins CAST Kate Hudson (Isabel), Naomi Watts (Roxeanne), Leslie Caron (Suzanne de Persand), Glenn Close (Olivia Pace), Stockard Channing (Margeeve Walker), Sam Waterston (Chester Walker)

TV MOVIES

LE GÉNIE DU FAUX (1984) DIR Stéphane Kurc CAST Roland Bertin, Leslie Caron, Patrick Chesnais, Patrice Kerbrat, Michael Lonsdale

LE TRAIN DE LENINE, a.k.a LENIN: THE TRAIN (1987) DIR Damiano Damiani CAST Ben Kingsley, Dominique Sanda, Leslie Caron (Nadeshda Krupskaya), Jason Connery

THE RING (1995) DIR Armand Mastroianni CAST Nastassia Kinski, Leslie Caron (Madame de Saint Marne), Michael York

THE LAST OF THE BLONDE BOMBSHELLS (2000) DIR Gillies MacKinnon CAST Judi Dench, Ian Holm, Leslie Caron (Madeleine), Olympia Dukakis, Cleo Laine

MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS (2001) DIR Carl Schenkel CAST Alfred Molina, Meredith Baxter, Peter Strauss, Natasha Wightman, Leslie Caron (Sra Alvarado)

AUTOBIOGRAPHY: Thank Heaven: A Memoir (2009); Viking Penguin, New York, New York, publisher