Anna Karina (1940 – 2019)

Anna Karina (born 1940 Denmark; died 2019 France): moved from Copenhagen to Paris as a fashion model in 1958, in French films from 1961. Obituary after the jump.

ANNA Karina, the poster girl of the French New Wave, has died from cancer at the age of 79.

The Danish-French actress, star of Bande à Part and Pierrot le Fou, died yesterday in a hospital in Paris, her agent said.

Laurent Balandras, her agent, said: “Anna died yesterday in a Paris hospital of the effects of cancer.”

He said she passed away in the company of her fourth husband, American director Dennis Berry.

Franck Riester, France’s culture minister, tweeted: “Today, French cinema has been orphaned. It has lost one of its legends.”

Karina was still a teen when she hitchhiked to Paris from her native Denmark to try and become an actress.

She had left a difficult relationship with her mum and stepdad in Denmark.

She developed a successful modelling career after being spotted in Cafe Les Deux Magots.

Karina was then contacted by her director ex-husband Jean-Luc Godard after he saw her in a TV advert.

Godard offered her a nude scene in “Breathless”, his first and most famous film, but she turned him down.

She was eventually offered a big role in 1960 film Le Petit Soldat.

In a previous interview she said: “I said to him, ‘Do I have to take my clothes off?’ He said, ‘No, no, it’s a political film. I said, ‘Politics? I don’t know anything about politics. I am too young.’ He said, ‘You just have to do what I tell you to.'”

They were already a couple when, at barely 21, she won best actress at the Berlin film festival for his “A Woman is a Woman” in 1961. They divorced four years later.

The couple made eight films together, from Le Petit Soldat through to Made in USA.

In an interview with AFP last year she said: “We loved each other a lot. But it was complicated to live with him.

“He was someone who could say to you, ‘I am going to get some cigarettes’ and come back three weeks later.”

She added: “I’d sit and wait in front of the phone. At that time, there were no answering machines.”

After divorcing Godard, Karina remarried several times.

She was married to French actors Pierre Fabre from 1968 to 1974 and Daniel Duval from 1978 to 1981, and to American film director Dennis Berry, who she wed in 1982.

She later worked behind the camera to make “Vivre ensemble”, a romance between a history teacher and a free spirited young woman that ends in drugs and domestic violence.

Karina also had some success as a singer, recording “Sous Le Soleil Exactement” and “Roller Girl” with Serge Gainsbourg. She also wrote three novels.

The Sun


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