French-Swiss actress and singer Marie Laforêt, nicknamed “the girl with golden eyes”, has died aged 80 near Geneva, Switzerland, where she lived since 1978.
Laforêt, who held French and Swiss nationality, died on Saturday in the Swiss town of Genolier, between Lausanne and Geneva, her family announced on Sunday. The cause of death remains unknown.
Maïténa Doumenach, her real name, was born on 5 October 1939 in Soulac-sur-Mer in France, the daughter of an industrialist.
She went on to act in 35 films and sold more than 35 million albums. She released her first single Vendanges de l’amour in 1963. Her other hits included Ivan, Boris et moi, Il a neigé sur Yesterday, Viens sur la montagne, Marie douceur, Marie colère and Que calor la vida.
Singing in French and Spanish, she drew inspiration from American and European folk music.
As an actress, she worked with film directors such as Georges Lautner, Henri Verneuil Pierre Granier-Deferre, Michel Deville and Jean-Pierre Mocky. She appeared alongside stars such as Alain Delon and Jean-Paul Belmondo.
“My career has been rather haphazard but my life has been full from beginning to end,” said Laforêt, who married five times, and also worked as a theatre actress and as a writer, antique dealer and auctioneer.