Leslie Caron

Leslie Caron

Born Leslie Claire Margaret Caron
(1931-07-01) 1 July 1931
Occupation Actress
Years active 1951–present
Spouse(s) Geordie Hormel
Peter Hall
Michael Laughlin

Leslie Claire Margaret Caron (French: [lɛsli kaʁɔ̃]; born 1 July 1931) is a Franco-American film actress and dancer who has appeared in 45 films between 1951 and 2003. Her autobiography, Thank Heaven, was published in 2010 in the UK and US, and in 2011 in a French version. Veteran documentarian Larry Weinstein's Leslie Caron: The Reluctant Star premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on June 28, 2016.[1]

Caron is best known for the musical films An American in Paris (1951), Lili (1953), Daddy Long Legs (1955), Gigi (1958), and for the nonmusical films Fanny (1961), The L-Shaped Room (1962), and Father Goose (1964). She received two Academy Award nominations for Best Actress. In 2006, her performance in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit won her an Emmy for guest actress in a drama series. She is fluent in French, English, and Italian. She is one of the few dancers or actresses who have danced with Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Rudolf Nureyev.

Early years

Caron was born in Boulogne-sur-Seine, Seine (now Boulogne-Billancourt, Hauts-de-Seine), the daughter of Margaret (née Petit), a Franco American dancer on Broadway, and Claude Caron, a French chemist, pharmacist, perfumer and boutique owner.[2] While her older brother Aimery Caron became a chemist like their father, Leslie was prepared for a performing career from childhood by their mother.


Caron started her career as a ballerina. Gene Kelly discovered her in the Roland Petit company "Ballet des Champs Elysées" and cast her to appear opposite him in the musical An American in Paris (1951), a role in which a pregnant Cyd Charisse was originally cast. This role led to a long-term MGM contract and a sequence of films which included the musical The Glass Slipper (1955) and the drama The Man with a Cloak (1951), with Joseph Cotten and Barbara Stanwyck. Still, Caron has said of herself: "Unfortunately, Hollywood considers musical dancers as hoofers. Regrettable expression."[3]

Candid photo with her new son, Christopher, and co-star Maurice Chevalier on the set of Gigi (1958)

She also starred in the successful musicals Lili (1953), with Mel Ferrer; Daddy Long Legs (1955), with Fred Astaire, and Gigi (1958) with Louis Jourdan and Maurice Chevalier.

In 1953, Caron was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress for her starring role in Lili. For her performance in the British drama The L-Shaped Room (1962), she won the BAFTA (Best British Actress) and Golden Globe awards, and was nominated for the Best Actress Oscar.[4]

In the 1960s and thereafter, Caron worked in European films, as well. Her later film assignments included Father Goose (1964), with Cary Grant; Ken Russell's Valentino (1977), in the role of silent-screen legend Alla Nazimova; and Louis Malle's Damage (1992). Sometime in 1970, Caron was one of the many actresses considered for the lead role of Eglantine Price in Disney's Bedknobs and Broomsticks, losing the role to British actress Angela Lansbury.

In 1967, she was a member of the jury of the 5th Moscow International Film Festival.[5] In 1989, she was a member of the jury at the 39th Berlin International Film Festival.[6]

Caron has continued to act, appearing in the film Chocolat (2000). During the 1980s, she appeared in several episodes of the soap opera Falcon Crest as Nicole Sauguet. She is one of the few actresses from the classic era of MGM musicals who are still active in film—a group that includes Debbie Reynolds, Dean Stockwell, Rita Moreno, Margaret O'Brien, and June Lockhart. Her other recent credits include Funny Bones (1995) with Jerry Lewis and Oliver Platt; The Last of the Blonde Bombshells (2000) with Judi Dench and Cleo Laine; and Le Divorce (2003), directed by James Ivory, with Kate Hudson and Naomi Watts.

On 30 June 2003, Caron traveled to San Francisco to appear as the special guest star in The Songs of Alan Jay Lerner: I Remember It Well, a retrospective concert staged by San Francisco's 42nd Street Moon Company. In 2007, her guest appearance on Law and Order: Special Victims Unit earned her a 2007 Primetime Emmy Award. On 27 April 2009, Caron traveled to New York as an honored guest at a tribute to Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe at the Paley Center for Media.[7]

On 8 December 2009, Caron received the 2,394th Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In February 2010, she played Madame Armfeldt in A Little Night Music at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, which also featured Greta Scacchi and Lambert Wilson.[8]

in 2016 Caron appeared in the ITV television series The Durrells as the Countess Mavrodaki.

Personal life

Photo in 2012

In September 1951, Caron married American George Hormel III, a grandson of the founder of Hormel (a meat-packing company). They divorced in 1954.[9] Her second husband was British theatre director Peter Hall. They married in 1956 and had two children: Christopher John Hall (TV producer) in 1957 and Jennifer Caron Hall, a writer, painter, and actress, in 1958. Caron had an affair with Warren Beatty (1961). When Hall and she divorced in 1965, Beatty was named as a co-respondent and was ordered by the London court to pay "the costs of the case."[10] In 1969, Caron married Michael Laughlin, best known as producer of the film Two-Lane Blacktop; they divorced in 1980. Her son-in-law is Glenn Wilhide, the producer and screenwriter.

Caron was also romantically linked to Dutch television actor Robert Wolders from 1994 to 1995.[11]

From June 1993 until September 2009, Caron owned and operated the hotel and restaurant Auberge La Lucarne aux Chouettes (The Owls' Nest), located in Villeneuve-sur-Yonne, located about 130 km (81 mi) south of Paris.[12]

In her autobiography, Thank Heaven, she states that she became an American citizen—evidently based on her mother having been born in the United States—in time to vote for Barack Obama for president.[13]




Year Title Role Notes
1951 American in Paris, AnAn American in Paris Lise Bouvier
1951 Man with a Cloak, TheThe Man with a Cloak Madeline Minot
1952 Glory Alley Angela Evans
1953 Story of Three Loves, TheThe Story of Three Loves Mademoiselle segment: Mademoiselle
1953 Lili Lili Daurier BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
Nominated-Academy Award for Best Actress
1955 Glass Slipper, TheThe Glass Slipper Ella
1955 Daddy Long Legs Julie Andre
1956 Gaby Gaby
1958 Gigi Gigi Laurel Award for Top Female Musical Performance
Nominated-Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1958 Doctor's Dilemma, TheThe Doctor's Dilemma Mrs. Dubedat
1959 Man Who Understood Women, TheThe Man Who Understood Women Ann Garantier
1960 Austerlitz Mlle de Vaudey
1960 Subterraneans, TheThe Subterraneans Mardou Fox
1961 Fanny Fanny Laurel Award for Top Female Dramatic Performance (5th place)
Nominated-Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama
1962 Guns of Darkness Claire Jordan
1962 L-Shaped Room, TheThe L-Shaped Room Jane Fosset BAFTA Award for Best British Actress
Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama
Laurel Award for Top Female Dramatic Performance (3rd place)
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress (2nd place)
Nominated-Academy Award for Best Actress
1962 Three Fables of Love Annie segment: Les deux pigeons
1964 Father Goose Catherine
1965 Very Special Favor, AA Very Special Favor Dr. Lauren Boullard
1965 Promise Her Anything Michele O'Brien
1966 Is Paris Burning? Françoise Labé
1967 Il padre di famiglia Paola, la moglie di Marco
1970 Madron Sister Mary
1971 Chandler Katherine Creighton
1976 Surreal Estate Céleste
1977 Man Who Loved Women, TheThe Man Who Loved Women Véra
1977 Valentino Alla Nazimova
1978 Nicole Nicole
1979 Goldengirl Dr. Sammy Lee
1980 All Stars Lucille Berger
1981 Chanel Solitaire uncredited
1982 Imperative Mother
1984 Dangerous Moves Henia Liebskind
1990 Courage Mountain Jane Hillary
1990 Guns Waitress
1992 Damage Elizabeth Prideaux
1995 Funny Bones Katie Parker
1995 Let It Be Me Marguerite
1999 Reef, TheThe Reef Regine De Chantelle
2000 Chocolat Madame Audel Nominated-Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2003 Le Divorce Suzanne de Persand
Year Title Role Notes
1959 ITV Play of the Week Thérèse Tarde 1 episode: The Wild Bird
1968 Off to See the Wizard Ella 1 episode: Cinderella's Glass Slipper: Part 1
1973 Carola Carola Janssen TV movie
1974 QB VII Angela Kelno TV miniseries
1978 Docteur Erika Werner Erika Werner TV series
1980 The Contract Penelope TV movie
1981 Mon meilleur Noël La Nuit 1 episode: L'oiseau bleu
1982 Tales of the Unexpected Nathalie Vareille 1 episode: Run, Rabbit, Run
1982 The Unapproachable Klaudia TV movie
1983 Cinéma 16 Alice 1 episode: Le château faible
1984 Master of the Game Solange Dunas
1986 Love Boat, TheThe Love Boat Mrs. Duvall 1 episode: The Christmas Cruise
1987 Falcon Crest Nicole Sauget 3 episodes
1988 Lenin: The Train Nadia TV movie
1988 The Man Who Lived at the Ritz Coco Chanel TV movie
1994 Normandy: The Great Crusade Osmont, Mary-Louise (voice)
1996 Ring, TheThe Ring Madame de Saint Marne
1996 Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century, TheThe Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century Czarina Aleksandra Romanov (voice) 3 episodes
2000 Last of the Blonde Bombshells, TheThe Last of the Blonde Bombshells Madeleine TV film
2001 Murder on the Orient Express Sra. Alvarado
2006 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit Lorraine Delmas 1 episode: Recall
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series
2013 Jo Josette Lenoir 1 episode: Le Marais
2016 The Durrells Countess Mavrodaki 3 episodes




Articles by Leslie Caron

Articles by Leslie Caron

See also


  1. TIFF Cinematheque Special Screenings: Summer 2016 » Leslie Caron: The Reluctant Star, 28 June 2016
  2. Kisselgoff, Anna (12 March 1995). "DANCE; The Ballerina In Leslie Caron The Actress". New York Times.
  3. Matthew Kennedy Thank Heaven: A Memoir, by Leslie Caron, Brightlights.com, issue 67, February 2010
  4. "5th Moscow International Film Festival (1967)". MIFF. Retrieved 9 December 2012.
  5. "Berlinale: 1989 Juries". Berlinale. Retrieved 9 March 2011.
  6. "The Musicals of Lerner & Loewe: An Evening of Song and Television". The Paley Center for Media. 27 April 2009.
  7. "Leslie Caron Receives Walk of Fame Star". CBS 2 / KCAL 9. Los Angeles. 8 December 2009.
  8. "Mill on the Willow: A History of Mower County, Minnesota" by various authors. Library of Congress No. 84-062356
  9. Rich, Frank (3 July 1978). "Warren Beatty Strikes Again". Time.
  10. "Leslie Caron". TCM Movie Database. Retrieved 11 November 2008.
  11. "French inn: Her latest stage". Los Angeles Times. 15 October 2006.
  12. Caron, Leslie (25 November 2009). Thank Heaven: A Memoir. New York: Viking Adult.
  13. Tele7.fr


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