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French actress Mireille Darc dies aged 79

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French actress Mireille Darc Thomas Samson/AFP

Mireille Darc has died aged 79, her family said on Monday. The French actress, who began her career in the 1960's, had played in about fifty films and was actor Alain Delon’s longtime companion.


Mireille Darc was born on 15 May 1938 in Toulon, southern France, where she attended the Conservatoire d’ Art Dramatique in 1958.

Her career started in 1960 in Claude Barma's La Grande Brétèche but her first leading role came in 1961 with Jean Prat's Hauteclaire.

She starred as Christine in Le grand blond avec une chaussure noire and Le retour du grand blond and alongside Alain Delon in several films: Les Seins de glace, Il était une fois un flic, Borsalino.

In the 1980's her career was interrupted by open-heart surgery following a car accident, in which she was seriously injured, and her separation from Alain Delon after fifteen years together.

Alain Delon and Mireille Darc in Nice, January 1976 STF/AFP

She quit her film career, but returned to television in the 1990’s.

In 2006, Jacques Chirac awarded Darc the Légion d'honneur.

In 2013, Darc had further open heart surgery, and during 2016 she suffered several haemorrhages.

She had been married to architect Pascal Desprez since 2002.