Born: July 1, 1931
Birthplace: Boulogne-sur-Seine, Paris, France
Leslie Claire Margaret Caron (born 1 July 1931) is a Franco-American actress and dancer who 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 28 June 2016.
Caron is best known for the musical films An American in Paris (1951), Lili (1953), Daddy Long Legs (1955), and 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 has danced with Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and Rudolf Nureyev.
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. While her older brother Aimery Caron became a chemist like their father, Leslie was prepared for a performing career from childhood by her mother.
Caron started her career as a ballerina. Gene Kelly discovered her in the Roland Petit company "Ballet des Champs Elysées (fr)" 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."
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 Award for Best British Actress and Golden Globe awards, and was nominated for the Best Actress Oscar.
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. In 1989, she was a member of the jury at the 39th Berlin International Film Festival.
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 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.
For her contributions to the film industry, Caron was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame on 8 December 2009 with a motion pictures star located at 6153 Hollywood Boulevard. 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.
In 2016, Caron appeared in the ITV television series The Durrells as the Countess Mavrodaki.
In September 1951, Caron married American George Hormel II, a grandson of the founder of the Hormel meat-packing company. They divorced in 1954. During that period, while under contract to MGM, she lived in Laurel Canyon, in a Normandie style 1927 mansion, near the country store on Laurel Canyon Blvd.. One bedroom was all mirrored for her dancing rehearsals.
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.
In 1969, Caron married Michael Laughlin, the 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.
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.
In her autobiography, Thank Heaven, she states that she obtained American citizenship in time to vote for Barack Obama for president.
|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|
|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|
|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|
|1977||Man Who Loved Women, TheThe Man Who Loved Women||Véra|
|1979||Goldengirl||Dr. Sammy Lee|
|1980||All Stars||Lucille Berger|
|1984||Dangerous Moves||Henia Liebskind|
|1990||Courage Mountain||Jane Hillary|
|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|
|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|
Books by Leslie Caron
Articles by Leslie Caron
Articles by Leslie Caron