Madeleine Lebeau – Farewell to Casablanca

Posted by The Skibbereen Eagle | May 15, 2016 0

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French actress Madeleine Lebeau, the last surviving cast member of the classic 1942 film Casablanca, has died at the age of 92 after breaking her thigh bone, her family says. Her stepson, filmmaker Carlo Alberto Pinelli, told the Hollywood Reporter that she had died on 1 May in Spain.  In Casablanca, Lebeau plays the boozy Tvonne, Humphrey Bogart’s spurned lover. In a famous scene, she tearfully shouts “Vive La France”, after the clientele in Rick’s Café sing La Marseillaise to drown out singing by German soldiers. lebeau2

samcasalebeau3Born in 1923 near Paris, she fled Nazi-occupied France with her then husband, prominent actor Marcel Dalio, in 1940. The couple ended up in Hollywood, and both played in Casablanca. LeBeau married actor Marcel Dalio in 1939; it was his second marriage. They had met while performing a play together. In 1939 she appeared in her first film, the melodrama Jeunes filles en détresse (Girls in Distress). In June 1940, LeBeau and Dalio (who was Jewish; born Israel Moshe Blauschild) fled Paris ahead of the invading German Army and reached Lisbon. They are presumed to have received transit visas from Aristides de Sousa Mendes, allowing them to enter Spain and journey on to Portugal. It took them two months to obtain visas to Chile.

However, when their ship, the S.S. Quanza, stopped in Mexico, they were stranded, along with around 200 other passengers, when the Chilean visas they had purchased turned out to be forgeries. Eventually, they were able to get temporary Canadian passports and entered the United States. In many ways their story parallels those of the desperate refugees in Casablanca.

Lebeau made her Hollywood debut in 1941 in Hold Back the Dawn, which featured Olivia de Havilland in a leading role. The following year, she appeared in the Errol Flynn movie Gentleman Jim, a biography of Irish-American boxer James J. Corbett

In Casablanca, Bogart plays an American cafe owner in Morocco, a territory controlled by France’s Nazi collaborationist regime. He must choose between his love for a woman and helping her husband escape Casablanca to continue fighting the Nazis.

Lebeau played in two more US films before returning to France after the war. Her subsequent work includes the role of a temperamental French actress in Fellini’s 8 1/2 (1963).

Marie Madeleine Berthe LeBeau (10 June 1923, Antony, Hauts-de-Seine, France – 1 May 2016, Estepona, Spain) French actress.

 

 

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