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'Devil in the Flesh' actor, Micheline Presle dies at 101

Updated on: 23 February,2024 06:44 AM IST  |  Los Angeles

Legendary French-Hollywood actor Micheline Presle, known for films such as 'Devil in the Flesh' and 'Under My Skin' passed away at the age of 101

'Devil in the Flesh' actor, Micheline Presle dies at 101

Micheline Presle. Pic/AFP

Micheline Presle, a prominent French actress who debuted in the controversial 'Devil in the Flesh' before venturing into Hollywood and playing roles opposite John Garfield, Tyrone Power, Errol Flynn, and Paul Newman, has died, according to the Hollywood Reporter. She was 101.

Presle died on Wednesday in the Paris neighbourhood of Nogent-sur-Marne, her son-in-law Olivier Bomsel informed Le Figaro.

Micheline Presle. Pic/AFPMicheline Presle. Pic/AFP

Presle rose to worldwide prominence when she played a nurse having an affair with a student (Gerard Philipe) in the World War I drama 'Devil in the Flesh' (1947), which the National Board of Review named one of the top ten films of the year. Because it depicted a woman who had a lover while her husband was away at war, it sparked a lot of debate.

Presle met American actor William Marshall, who was married to another French celebrity, Michele Morgan, and travelled with him to America in 1949. They planned to marry in Santa Barbara the same year.

She signed with 20th Century Fox, who altered her surname to Prelle and cast her as a cafe owner who falls in love with a corrupt jockey (Garfield) in Jean Negulesco's 'Under My Skin' (1950), based on an Ernest Hemingway short story.

She co-starred with Power in Fritz Lang's Technicolour war drama 'American Guerilla in the Philippines' (1950), before being loaned to Republic Pictures to perform with Flynn in 'The Adventures of Captain Fabian' (1951).

Marshall directed the picture, which was shot in France based on a screenplay written by Flynn, as per the Hollywood Reporter. But because these traits failed to generate much fire, she and Marshall split in 1954, and she moved to France, as per the Hollywood Reporter.

Presle, the daughter of an investment banker, was born on August 22, 1922, in Paris as Micheline Nicole Julia Emilienne Chassagne.

After a few lesser roles, she had her breakthrough in G.W. Pabst's 'Young Girls in Trouble' (1939), playing the leader of a group of girls who are distraught by their parents' divorces. Moving forward, she would use the surname of the character she played, Jacqueline Presley, as her stage name.

In Abel Gance's 'Paradise Lost' (1940), she played both a mother and a daughter. Presle began her comeback after a less-than-successful stint in the United States with a leading role in Joseph Losey's English-language murder mystery 'Chance Meeting' (1959).

She returned to Hollywood to play a former French showgirl and the mother of Sandra Dee's character in the romantic comedy 'If a Man Answers' (1962), which also starred Dee's then-husband, Bobby Darin.

In 1963, she co-starred with Newman as a scientist in the spy drama 'The Prize' (1963), set against the backdrop of a Nobel Prize ceremony. From 1965 to 1971, she starred in the French comedy series 'Les Saintes Cheries.'

Her film credits included 'Male Hunt' (1964), 'The Legend of Frenchie King' (1971), 'Thieves After Dark' (1984), and 'Alain Resnais' I Want to Go Home' (1989), for which she received a Cesar nomination.

She received an honorary Cesar in 2004. Tonie Marshall, her daughter, died in 2020 at the age of 68 after winning a historic Cesar Award for Venus Beauty Institute.

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