Know her from the films BONJOUR TRISTESSE, LILITH, PAINT YOUR WAGON, AIRPORT and BREATHLESS. A girl from Marshalltown, Iowa picked to play the lead in Otto Preminger's SAINT JOAN which flopped big time. Best known for her international films. One of my favorite films, and one of the few American productions Seberg did, was a Mervyn LeRoy melodrama called MOMENT TO MOMENT . Just read David Richards biography from the 80's, PLAYED OUT. %0D
Jean Seberg was married to French politician and author Romain Gary who I believe committed suicide exactly one year after she did. She also had a brief affair with Clint Eastwood when they were shooting PAINT YOUR WAGON.%0D
What a sad, sad and controversial life she had. She was very much the activist and that (plus clinical depression)probably lead to her downfall. Not too many of her films are out on DVD and not too many of the 'young'ens' on this site would even know who she was. Jean Seberg wasn't the greatest actress around but she did have a quality. Pretty and wholesome looking yet her life was far from happy and wholesome. I understand that there is a book out now about the FBI tracking Seberg when she was involved with the Black Panther movement in the 60's.%0D
Any other DL's remember her?
Seberg was dull in Moment To Moment. Honor Blackman was better value in that.
LA Times gossip columnist Joyce Haber reported about the baby she was allegedly carrying from a Black Panther. Haber was fired as a result and was unable to get another job as "journalist."
tragic ending to her life.\
In August 1979, she went missing and was found dead eleven days later in the back seat of her car, which was parked close to her Paris apartment in the 16th arrondissement. The police report stated that she had taken a massive overdose of barbiturates and alcohol (8g per litre). A suicide note ("Forgive me. I can no longer live with my nerves.") was found in her hand, and "probable suicide" was ultimately ruled the official cause of death by the French coroner. However, it is often questioned how she could have operated a car with that amount of alcohol in her body, and without the corrective lenses she always maintained she absolutely needed for driving. A year later, her former husband Romain Gary committed suicide.
I read Played Out, too. I thought it was fascinating, and sad. Lots of stuff about the times she lived in, too.
It''s interesting that she was able to eek out a career after what was essentially a publicity stunt (St. Joan). I love the movie Bonjour Tristesse; I think she''s perfect as the shell-shocked teen covering up her pain with partying.
She''s like an American version of Pier Angeli.
I read the book PLAYED OUT. Loved it and felt so bad for this woman, who was pretty much harrassed for her political beliefs. %0D\
I''m very surprised that no one has made a movie of her life. I remember that there was talk of Jodie Foster being interested years ago, but nothing since then.
R8, a movie was made about her life. It came out in 1996 directed by Mark Rappaport. It was called From the Files of Jean Seberg with Mary Beth Hurt as Seberg reflecting on her life and career from beyond the grave. The movie is more of a documentary and an essay on film theory and the nature of stardom, but it''s quite interesting with clips from various Seberg films, including a couple of Euro trash pseudo art films Gary wrote and directed for Seberg: Birds of Peru and Kill. You can find it as an extra on the Criterion Collection Breathless DVD.
Mary Beth Hurt was also from Marshalltown.%0D\
There was a musical too that was produced in London but it didn''t go anywhere.%0D\
I think the Jodie Foster pic fell through. I really can''t see Foster as Jean Seberg. Needs an Anne Hathaway type.
Has anyone read the more recent biography? I think it''s called Jean Seberg. And there is that book about the FBI files. Don''t recall the title.
Jean Seberg -Breathless by Gary McGee%0D\
Neutralized- The FBI vs. Jean Seberg by Jean Russell and Gary McGee.
"Played Out" by David Richards, is an excellent biography of her. Anyone who wants to know about Jean Seberg should read it.%0D
She was a completely inexperienced teenage actress (did some summer stock; ONE summer to be exact) when she was chosen from 18,000 young girls to play the lead in a major movie, "Saint Joan." She was incredibly miscast and just not up to such a role; the movie was a disaster.%0D
Her career might have ended there, but for the French New Wave film "Breathless." After that, her look with the very short hair became fashionable for a while and the French adored her. But she never really because a major actress in the U.S.%0D
She did have an affair with Clint Eastwood, but it was not a "fling", at least not on her part. They were pretty hot and heavy for a while; she considered it a serious relationship. But after "Paint Your Wagon" was over Clint was "wham, bam, thank you ma'am" and went on his way. She was disappointed; turns out the "serious relationship" was just a diversion for him.%0D
She became involved with radicals in the sixties, most notably The Black Panthers. She had a sexual relationship with one of them, Hakim Abdullah Jamal (real name: Allen Eugene Donaldson). When she became pregnant, the rumor was that it was his baby. It wasn't. The child that was born,a girl named Nina, died. It was said that Sebring believes the FBI was responsible for the death of her baby by creating such anxiety for her that she gave birth prematurely.%0D
She was incredibly gullible and naive and often gave unsavory characters money and other forms of support. One person who knew her said "the biggest asshole in the world could be Jesus Christ to her."%0D
For a while she went crazy, literally crazy, out of touch with reality. She would go on long crying jags, hear messages coming from the refridgerator or pieces of tin foil or believe ordinary passers-by were CIA agents. %0D
She ended up killing herself at age forty. It was pretty ghastly. She killed herself with sleeping pills and died in the back of a car. It was summer and the car doors were the type that close hermetically; the body baked in the sun without being found for ten days. %0D
When she got the role in "Saint Joan" it was supposed to have been a Cinderella story, a dream come true. Actually it was the worst thing that could have happened for her. If she had studied and worked for years and obtained some success later in life, maybe her sad, sad story would have turned out differently.
I can''t see Anne Hathaway as Jean Seberg at all. Carey Mulligan, on the other hand, could play her, and probably brilliantly.
There are very few successful films where a man is so in love with the woman that the love becomes his downfall. The woman has to be mysterious, sexy, etherally beautiful or magnificent in some other way. Jean Seberg is none of those things in Breathless, but you still believe that Belmondo would risk his life just to spend more time with her. She treats him indifferently, probably doesn''t love him, and yet, there is something about her that makes you understand his foolishness. \
I can''t imagine Hathaway or Mulligan having that effect.
in love with *a* woman
She was a short hair pioneer!%0D\
Well, she was initially a midwestern girl, then all the Hollywood/European/Radical Chic stuff that was not good for her.%0D\
I can''t think of any current actress to play her. I would go with an "unknown."
What, and ruin *her* life, too, r22!?
Bizarrely enough, R18, Susan Strasberg, who was a Tony nominee as Best Actress for the role she created on Broadway, was determined to be "too Jewish" for the Hollywood film.
Bonjour Tristesse is a perfect movie. Perfect in that it encapsules a certain era perfectly. It is so sixties, in all its angsty, mod, weird yet poetic ways.
That was Lily Tomlin, r2, not Jean Seberg.
Madonna deliberately copied her gamine look in the Papa Don''t Preach video.
Her grave in Montparnasse Cemetery in Paris is still very well-kept and loaded with memorabilia from fans.
Gone With the Wind and Forever Amber are, of course, other familiar films that Hollywood producers felt it was necessary to conduct a world-wide search to find an unknown actress to play the iconic heroine.
The second Lady deWinter
OP here. Thank you to all who are sharing your thoughts about Jean Seberg. All of you have added some fascinating comments and I really appreciate it.%0D\
I know that if the British musical about Seberg had not flopped, there were discussions about it transferring here and Kelli O''Hara was being considered.%0D\
As for the abandoned idea of a movie with Jodie Foster, I just can''t see Foster as Seberg.
r 28--kinda like gaga.
R26- No, Jean Seberg did a movie in 1966 called MOMENT TO MOMENT. I have a copy. The Lily Tomlin, John Travolta movie was MOMENT BY MOMENT.%0D\
Seberg''s Moment to Moment was a melodrama very much in the Back Street, Portrait in Black vein. Beautiful French Riveria locales, Seberg was dressed to the nines and a pretty theme song by Henry Mancini.It was directed by Mervyn leRoy for Universal. Honor Blackman, Arthur Hill and newcomer Sean Garrison were in the cast.%0D\
The movie''s tag line was%0D\
One moment of surrender,%0D\
then a thousand moments of%0D\
shock and suspense.
Loved reading this thread, OP. It was the first thing that I read when I got up and was a great way to slowly ease into the holiday morning.
I love her in BONJOUR TRISTESSE which I think is an underrated movie. The ending is very similar to the way Frears ends DANGEROUS LIASONS. I wonder if he borrowed it from Preminger.
Winona Ryder could have played Jean.
She was married to an old man? Dam gurl.
I don''t have time to respond to this now as preparing dinner - but will return later.%0D\
Seberg has quite a cult following now - here in Europe anyway. I am re-seeing BONJOUR TRISTESSE at London''s National Film Theatre next month - it will be divine to see it on the big screen.
"Millie Perkins was chosen to play Anne Frank in the 1958 film in a similar nation-wide search but survived with her life, if not movie stardom."%0D
Millie Perkins didn't end up like Seberg, but her performance in "The Diary of Anne Frank" was just as bad as Seberg's was in "Saint Joan."%0D
For one thing she was ridiculously un-semitic looking. She's been a model and it shows; she's cutie-pie pretty, which is totally wrong for the role of Anne Frank.%0D
She's also a laughably bad actress. Her voice! It sounds like the voice of a five year old, not a teenager. She sounds and behaves more like a small child than a girl on the threshold of young womanhood. In one scene Anne's mother commands that the Van Daams be put out (Mr. Van Daan was caught stealing food); of course Peter Van Daan(Anne's boyfriend) will have to go with them. At the thought of losing Peter, Perkin's Anne pokes out her lower lip like a four year olds and whimpers "Peter." Talk about bad acting!%0D
Perkin's Anne Frank sounds and behaves younger than the real Anne and looks older. Anne aged from 13 to 15 in the Secret Annex; Millie Perkins looks anywhere from 18 to 20. It's very disconcerting to see a girl who looks like that sitting in her Daddy's lap like she's a child. %0D
Susan Strasberg played the role onstage and was quite good. But she didn't get the film role because she was "too Jewish?" What did the filmmakers think Anne Frank should look like, a WASP?%0D
Anyway, the 1959 movie of "The Diary of Anne Frank" was inferior to other versions on tv that came later. That movie was a "Hollywood" depiction of Anne Frank and her family.%0D
Strasberg was heartbroken (BITTERSWEET by Susan Strasberg) that she didn''t get the role but yes, the big wigs at 20th thought she was too jewish looking. So they went with model perfect pretty and bland Perkins. I''m surprised that they didn''t throw a brown wig on Carol Lynley and go with her in the role.
"Madonna never had one original idea of her own."%0D\
It''s true, she''s a copycat. But she''s the ultimate copycat.
Funny how Hollywood was run by Jews but you''d hardly ever know it back then. The ultimate actor had auburn hair, light colored eyes and alabaster skin.%0D\
I love Jean but I always feel a little uncomfortable when I see her in "Airport". That hair-do is hideous and why did Edith Head dress her in gray??? She seems up tight in the movie. Was she miscast? I''m glad Hollywood gave her a new chance in a big movie at the time.\
Does anyone know where can I find "Moment to moment" on dvd?
R46- I got my copy from one of those places that deal with hard to find, never released on video movies. If you Google, that should take you to some places that would carry this. Sorry, I can''t remember the name of the place where I got mine. %0D\
Not sure if this place is still in business but there was a place out of L A called Mike LaBell Videos. They might have it.%0D\
Will at R46-%0D\
Mike LeBell Video%0D\
75 Fremont Place%0D\
Los Angeles, CA 90005%0D\
Haven''t used this place in years so I don''t know if they are still in business. I got copies of the widescreen PORGY AND BESS and Elizabeth Taylor''s NIGHT WATCH from this place.%0D\
Where do birds go to die?\
Thanks!!!! I will look for it and "Birds of Peru" too.
In spite of Susan Strasberg''s remarks, I find it hard to believe that she wasn''t cast because she looked too Jewish. She''d already been seen by movie audiences in the huge 1956 hit Picnic as the very shiksa tomboy sister to Kim Novak. %0D\
Wouldn''t it be more logical to assume that director George Stevens felt she simply was known to be too old? I don''t think Susan Strasberg ever looked particularly Jewish.
Madge is the pretty one
I like the Mancini/Mercer title song of MOMENT TO MOMENT too, R35. And you can do it as a ballad or swing it at a much faster tempo--I think Johnny Mathis does it that way.
I agree R52. Moment to Moment is a beautiful song.%0D\
I watched PAINT YOUR WAGON yesterday which I DVR''d off TCM. I never saw it. Big musical fan but somehow I skipped this one. I remember it got bad reviews and Paramount kept hacking away and cutting it after the roadshow premiere. That must have been the reason I passed on seeing WAGON when it finally played in the town where I grew up. Not a great movie but it does have moments. And Jean is lovely. Doesn''t have a lot to do but she does the best she can with that role.
R24 and R41:%0D\
There was actually a huge ideological debate (fueled primarily by Stalinists like Lillian Hellman) back in the ''50s over whether to present the Anne Frank story as a "Jewish" story (the Stalinists were against that) or as a universal story of human oppression (that fit more easily into Stalinist ideological structures).%0D\
Millie Perkins is more of an "everygirl" than the very Jewish Susan Strasberg.%0D\
There''s a book about Hellman''s involvement in the Anne Frank production - I think it''s called "The Stolen Legacy of Anne Frank".
I saw the musical JEAN SEBERG at the National Theatre when I was in London in 1983. It was pretty depressing--I think the Renault is parked on the stage the entire time, and it is basically a series of vignettes of her life played out around it. Marvin Hamlisch wrote the score, and there is one good song, "Dreamers", in it. I still have the program.
She adopted a dog that attacked only blacks and it was made into a story by her hubby then a film by Sam Fuller starring Kristy MacNichol called "White Dog." Not great, but worth a look on dvd.
Here''s her only surviving child, by Romaine Gary.
Saint Joan is available on DVD from Warners Archives. It''s not that bad, and she is quite appealing.
Although I have the dvd I am seeing BONJOUR TRISTESSE again next month on the big screen at the National Film Theatre here in London - its part of their Deborah Kerr season !
I actually liked her in Airport. And why would you call her hairdo in that film "hideous"? I wore that same hairdo at that time, and for several years after. Yes, it was set, backcombed, and sprayed to keep it in place, but a neat, attractive style.
Jean Seberg and husband Romain Gary in the photo below.
In 1963, Jean Seberg married French novelist and diplomat Romain Gary, who was 24 years her senior and was previously married. Their only child together, Alexandre Diego Gary, was born in Barcelona on July 24, 1962 before their wedding (Gary's divorce from his first wife was officialized the next year); for this, Diego's birth and first years of life were hidden from even Gary's closest friends and relatives. Thanks to his contacts in the diplomatics services, Gary established Diego's birth at the French village of Charquemont on October 26, 1963, after his parents' marriage. During her marriage to Gary, Seberg lived in Paris, Greece, Southern France and Majorca. Seberg's second child, Nina Hart Gary (born August 23, 1970 - died August 25, 1970) was acknowledged by Gary as his own, but during her pregnancy she confessed that the child was actually the product of an affair (during a separation from Gary) with a student revolutionary named Carlos Ornelas Navarro.The couple divorced one month before the birth of Nina.
In late August 1979, Seberg disappeared. Her partner, Ahmed Hasni, told police that they had gone to a movie the night of August 30 and when he awoke the next morning, Seberg was gone. After Seberg went missing, Hasni told police that he knew she was suicidal for some time. He claimed that she had attempted suicide in July 1979 by jumping in front of a Paris subway train.
Ten days later, her decomposing body was found wrapped in a blanket in the back seat of her Renault. Her car was parked close to her Paris apartment in the 16th arrondissement. Police found a bottle of barbiturates, an empty bottle of mineral water and a note written in French from Seberg addressed to her son. It read, in part, "Forgive me. I can no longer live with my nerves." Her death was ruled a suicide.
Romain Gary, Seberg's second husband, called a press conference shortly after her death where he publicly blamed the F.B.I.'s campaign against Seberg for her deteriorating mental health. Gary claimed that Seberg "became psychotic" after the media reported a false story that the FBI planted about her becoming pregnant with a Black Panther's child in 1970. The child died two days after Seberg went into premature labor. Gary stated that Seberg had repeatedly attempted suicide on the anniversary of the child's death, August 25.
Romain Gary died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on 2 December 1980 in Paris, France. He left a note which said specifically that his death had no relation to Seberg's suicide.
By the way Romain Gary was the writer of the novel 'Clair de femme'. Upon his novel was based the movie 'Clair de femme' with Romy Schneider and Yves Montand. Personally i liked the movie a lot, but i know it doesn't address to people who are looking for easy answers.
I also had the chance to read the book. I like the way Gary writes, it doesn't matter if i don't agree with everything he says, because i got impressed and liked a lot of things he wrote in this book.
What a pity that Jean Seberg died like that.
She was a versatile actress but not as versatile in real life as it seems.
She was the perfect Lilith Arthur in 'Lilith' and how can one forget her domineering presence in 'Breathless' and in 'Bonjour tristesse'?