Anouk Aimée, French star of ‘A Man and a Woman’ and ‘La Dolce Vita,’ dies at 92

An older woman with poufy dark hair looks off to one side while wearing a black shirt and no jewelry
Anouk Aimee was one of the first foreign actors to be nominated for major prizes at American film awards.
(Sven Kaestner / Associated Press)
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Anouk Aimée, the French film icon known for “A Man and a Woman,” “La Dolce Vita” and “Lola,” has died. She was 92.

The actor’s daughter, Manuela Papatakis, confirmed the news on Instagram, writing that she was at her mother’s bedside in Paris when Aimée died Tuesday morning. No cause of death was given.

Aimée was born Nicole Françoise Florence Dreyfus in Paris April 27, 1932, to actors Geneviève Sorya and Henry Murray. She made her film debut at age 14 in “The House Under the Sea” (La maison sous la mer) as a character named Anouk, which she adopted for herself afterward. She added the last name “Aimée,” which means “beloved,” in the late 1940s to cement her identity with her on-screen roles.


Renowned as an emblem of “cool, sophisticated beauty,” the actor appeared in nearly 90 films across seven decades. Her most notable roles include recent widow Anne, who falls for a widower at her daughter’s school before deciding that her heartbreak is too fresh to continue the romance, in “A Man and a Woman,” for which she was Oscar-nominated in the lead actress category — an incredible feat for a non-American star in 1967. She also won the Golden Globe that year in the same category.

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Her other most notable films include “La Dolce Vita” (1960) and “8½” (1963), which were directed by Federico Fellini, in addition to “Lola” (1961), “Justine” (1969), “Tragedy of a Ridiculous Man“(1981) and “Ready to Wear” (1994).

The international success of “A Man and a Woman” completely mystified Aimee at the time.

“When we went to the Golden Globes, I remember I saw Fred Astaire,” Aimee told The Times in 2002. “John Wayne came over to talk to me. Groucho Marx. These are people I admired when I was a kid and here they are applauding me. I don’t understand. It’s wrong.”

Even so, she expressed profound gratitude for her adoring reception in the States.

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“It was unbelievable. It was an incredible adventure,” she said. “I must say I owe a lot to American films because I have always been received very well here. People behave very well with me in America — that’s true. I am one of the Europeans who love it [in America].

Aimée was married four times — first to Edouard Zimmermann from 1949 to 1950, then to film writer and director Nikos Papatakis — with whom she had daughter Manuela — from 1951to 1954 Her third husband was Pierre Barouh, who played her deceased husband in “A Man and a Woman,” from 1966 to 1969. Her final marriage was to British actor Albert Finney from 1970 to 1978. Finney died in 2019, Papatakis in 2010, and Barouh in 2016.

Aimée is survived by her daughter, who also had a brief acting career, granddaughter Galaad and great-granddaughter Mila.