Wasp-waisted sex kitten Brigitte Anne-Marie Bardot was born into a middle-class Roman Catholic family to father Louis, an engineer, and mother Anne-Marie. She was to become one the greatest sex symbols of the 1950s and ‘60s, up there in the pantheon alongside Monroe .
As a little girl she dreamed of becoming a ballet dancer and, at 13, was accepted at the Conservatoire de Paris, where she studied for three years alongside Leslie Caron. Two years later, a friend of her mother’s invited her to take part in a fashion show – and, at the age of 15, was on the cover of the March 1950 cover of ELLE. From that moment, the career in dancing was not to be. The film director Roger Vadim saw that magazine – and her life changed forever.
When she was 18, she made her debut as a film actress. But it took 5 years and 16 unforgettable films before she became an international star with the release of Vadim’s controversial film And God Created Woman. A year later, she married him. She went on to work with Jean Luc Goddard and was later nominated for a BAFTA Award for the 1965 film Viva Maria!. During her career she starred in 47 films with some of the most famous film stars in history, appeared in several plays and musicals and recorded over 50 songs.
The French being the French, the existentialist intellectuals raised her to another level, declaring her to be a “locomotive of women’s history and the most-liberated woman of post-war France”. To demonstrate this, perhaps, she did a nude photo shoot for Playboy, which celebrated her 40th birthday. She later said, “it is sad to grow old but nice to ripen”.
She turned her back on showbiz in 1973 and channeled her fame into animal rights, protesting against the slaughter of seals and the wearing of fur coats. Another of her more famous quotes was “I gave my beauty and my youth to men. I am going to give my wisdom and experience to animals”. In 1985, she was awarded the Legion of Honour but refused to accept it.
She divorced and re-married a number of times and, in 1992, her fourth and current husband became Bernard d’Ormale, former advisor to Jean-Marie le Pen of the far-right party Front National. She became a very vocal critic of immigration and the Islamisation of France and has been fined five times for inciting racial hatred – “Over the last twenty years, we have given in to a subterranean, dangerous and uncontrolled infiltration, which not only resists adjusting to our laws and customs but which will, as the years pass, attempt to impose its own”.
Personal details - Born 28 September 1934 36-20-35 5ft 7in (1.70m)
Appearances - 13, debut Span 25 (September 1956)
Spick - 50(bc), 77, 153, 196
Span - 25
Spick & Span Extra - 52
66 - 11, 25, 26, 36, 45, 57, 68