Deneuve's father accused of collaborating with Nazis

The father of the iconic French film star Catherine Deneuve was a low-level Nazi collaborator during the Second World War, according to an unauthorised biography published yesterday.

Mme Deneuve, who is 64 on Tuesday, emerges from the biography, which she tried to block, as a calculating and unhappy person, driven by money and an obsessive need for privacy and independence.

The actress, who has been described on numerous occasions as the most beautiful woman in the world, is usually presented in France as a warm and rather scatty person, beneath an icy, controlled exterior.

But the author, Bernard Violet, a respected investigative biographer, claims that this image is a "legend" constructed by Deneuve herself.

Recent revelations that Deneuve had made public appearances for cash for a dubious Algerian businessman were not an isolated case, according to the book, Deneuve, L'Affranchie (Deneuve, the free woman).

However, the book's main revelation is on Deneuve's father, Maurice Dorléac, who was also an actor.

During the war, according to records discovered by Violet, Dorléac made 72 appearances in radio plays for the pro-Nazi and virulently anti-Semitic radio station Radio-Paris.

He also appeared in several propaganda films, including one which sang the praises of the Milice, the political police of the collaborationist Vichy regime.

Dorléac was found guilty after the war of "giving aid to Germany... and damaging the unity of the French nation". He was banned from working as an actor for six months.

The revelation is embarrassing to Deneuve, who has supported many left-wing and humanitarian causes. Violet says that this skeleton in the family cupboard may explain the "tangle of anguish" at the heart of Deneuve's secretive personality.

The book reviews her many love affairs and her only formal marriage – to the celebrated British photographer David Bailey in the 1960s. After a whirlwind romance, the book says, the couple found little to say to each other because Bailey never learnt French and Deneuve was usually "too tired" to speak English.

The book suggests that Deneuve is not the scatty, impractical, money-detesting person sometimes presented in the French media. In 2005, she was forced to admit – after initial denials – that she had received large cash payments to attend private parties, and a football match, with Rafik Khalifa, an Algerian businessman who had a meteoric rise before being prosecuted for fraud.

Violet says that this was part of a wider pattern of paid-for public appearances by Deneuve. She also runs her own company, Deneuve SA, which makes chaotic attempts to cash in on her image.

Violet said yesterday: "She has made some great films, Repulsion, Belle de Jour, Indochine, during a largely inconsistent career. Catherine Deneuve, the woman, I find very disappointing. She is not an especially happy person, rather a sad one.

"She has spent her whole life insisting on her independence and her freedom and she has paid the price for it. I think that she is more respected than she is liked."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web / Graphic Designer

£10000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to rapid customer growth, a...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree have recently been awa...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Property Manager

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The largest private landlord ba...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncpd Cmsion: SThree: Are you looking for a job th...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn