Beautiful American actress Jean Seberg (November 13, 1938 – August 30, 1979) was one of the most appealing, intelligent and enigmatic movie stars of the 1960s. She worked a lot in Europe, mainly in France, where, acting in films directed by Jean-Luc Godard and Claude Chabrol, got a lot of popularity in France and a BAFTA Award. Besides, Jean has become one of the symbols of the French New Wave. So far, she starred in 34 films in Hollywood and in Europe. However, in the late 1960s, Seberg became interested in politics. As a result that her name appeared in several scandals. In fact, Seberg became one of the best-known targets of the FBI COINTELPRO project. Unfortunately, during the last decade of her life, Seberg’s mental health deteriorated, due in part to a miscarriage and harassment by the FBI. Jean Seberg died at the age of 40 of a barbiturate overdose in Paris, 31 August 1979. Her death was a suicide.
American actress Jean Seberg was born on November 13, 1938 in the city of Marshalltown US state of Iowa, and from a young age played on the stage of the school theater. In 1957, nineteen-year-old Jean, while a student of the University of Iowa, took part in the casting for the role of Joan of Arc in the historical film by Otto Preminger’s “Saint Joan” – the film adaptation of the play by Bernard Shaw based on the play written by Graham Greene. Instead of inviting for the role of movie star, Preminger announced a national competition, trying to find an actress who could convey the purity and immediacy of the Virgin of Orleans. As a result, of three thousand contestants director chose Jean.
In 1958, Preminger invited her to his next film – a melodrama “Bonjour Tristesse”, an adaptation of the acclaimed novel by Francoise Sagan, published four years earlier. During the shooting, which took place on the French Riviera, Seberg met with a French lawyer Francois Moreuil and soon married him. The couple settled in Paris, where the actress was taking French lessons, singing and acting.
In 1960, Seberg appeared in the movie “The change,” shortly after filming Jean filed for divorce. Next she starred in the film of French director Jean-Luc Godard, one of the pioneers of the French New Wave, in the drama “Breathless”. This film has become the most famous with her participation, and the role brought the actress a lot of popularity in France and a BAFTA Award.
Drama “Big people” and the comedy “Lover for five days” – two films of the actress came out in 1961. By that time, Seberg began an affair with a famous writer Romain Gary. In July 1963 Jean gave birth to a son, who was named Alexandre Diego Gary. Then in 1964 were released three films with the actress. She first appeared in the almanac “The most beautiful swindlers of the world”, “Happy escape” and “Lilith”. For her role in the latter she was nominated for the “Golden Globe” award.
In 1965 was released a criminal melodrama “Billion billiards”, where the actress became a partner of Claude Rich. Then Jean again briefly went to Hollywood and starred in the Universal Pictures thriller “Moment to Moment”. Returning to France, she co-starred in the adventure film “Estufad in the Caribbean” with Frederick Stafford and Serge Gainsbourg. In 1966 she worked with Claude Chabrol – director invited her to star in his new film “Line of Demarcation.”
Then came the American comedy by Irvin Kershner, “A Fine Madness” with Sean Connery. And in 1967, Seberg again worked with Chabrol in the thriller “The Road to Corinth.” In 1968 she starred in the drama “Birds fly away to die in Peru.” In 1969, the actress has worked in the United States, taking part in two films – “Pendulum” and “California Gold”.
In the late 1960s, Seberg became interested in the politics, with the result that her name was involved in several scandals. So, the actress supported the National Association of Colored People, advocated for the rights of Indians. In addition, she has provided financial assistance to the activists of “Black Panther” – a party that fought for the rights of African Americans in the United States.
In 1970, she was shot in three films. First, the actress appeared in Italy in the drama “Hot Wave”, followed by two American movies – Western “Macho Callahan” and the thriller “Airport”. In 1971 Seberg worked with her ex-husband, Gary, starring in the crime thriller “Kill!”. In 1972 were released three films with Seberg. The first was the Italian drama “Such a special love”, followed by the movie by Pasquale Squitieri “Camorra”, and Yves Boisset’s thriller “Assassination”. In the mid-1970s, her career gradually began to droop. The actress began to appear less frequently – in 1973 and 1974 was released just one film with her participation, and the drama “The Wild Duck”, filmed in 1976 in Germany, based on the play by Henrik Ibsen, it became her last film.
At the end of August 1979 Seberg disappeared, and the police announced her wanted. After eleven days, her decomposing body wrapped in a blanket, was found in the backseat of a white “Renault”, standing on the outskirts of Paris. In the blood, the actress was found holding a piece of the note, which said: “I’m sorry, I can no longer live with my nerves.” An investigation began. It was announced that the death was caused by an overdose of barbiturates. Romain Gary, her second husband, called a press conference, where he publicly blamed the FBI’s campaign against Seberg for her deteriorating mental health.
In the “Les hautes solitudes” (1974) Jean portrays herself — an American actress and left-wing activist living in exile. In 1995, 16 years after her tragic and much-too-early death,
independent filmmaker Mark Rappaport reconstructed her life in the celluloid essay From the Journals of Jean Seberg, in which he examined her on- and off-screen persona from a social and cultural perspective.
American actress Jean Seberg