Corinne Luchaire

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Corinne Luchaire

Corinne Luchaire (11 February 1921 – 22 January 1950) was a French film actress and star of the French cinema on the eve of and during the Second World War.[1] Her collaboration during the German occupation led her to be sentenced to "national degredation" during the post-war French "purge", and, after writing an autobiography, she died from tuberculosis aged only 28.

Personal life

Born Rosita Christiane Yvette Luchaire in Paris the daughter of journalist, press magnate and politician Jean Luchaire, who later supported the wartime French government's Révolution nationale.[2] Her paternal grandfather Julien Luchaire was a Professor of History and playwright, and her maternal grandfather Armand Besnard was a painter.[2][3] Her sister Florence was also an actress. Her mother, also a painter,[3] became German Foreign Minister Gustav Stresemann's mistress, and they moved to Germany with Corinne. Corinne charmed Stresemann's friend Kurt, Freiherr von Schröder, who let her live in his mansion. Corinne grew up around the National Socialists who frequented the banker Schröder at his home. There, she met German ambassador Otto Abetz, who married her father's secretary, who until 1939 had been Abetz's mistress.[4][5]


Luchaire left school to join the drama class of Raymond Rouleau and made her acting debut under the name Rose Davel, at the age of 16, in a play written by her grandfather, Altitude 3 200.[2] She starred aged 17 in Prison sans barreaux, which in 1938 was remade in English in London as Prison Without Bars, with her again in the lead role. She spoke English fluently.[3] Mary Pickford called her "the new Garbo."[6] In 1939 she starred in Le Dernier Tournant (The Last Bend), the first version of the novel The Postman Always Rings Twice.[7]


She accompanied her father to Paris in August 1940.[8] She was briefly married to a French aristocrat, Guy de Voisins-Lavernière, who had served as a Captain in the Luftwaffe. They had one daughter, Brigitte, but divorced.[2] She had a brief relationship with Charles Trenet.[6] She became a well-known, piquant French actress, and she benefited during the German military occupation from the political and social position of her father, the editor of Le Matin, Les Temps Nouveaux, and Toute la vie.[5][9] A consumptive, she was frequently ill, and stopped acting in 1940.[10]

After World War II, Corinne was said to have attempted suicide, but escaped by train to Sigmaringen in Germany, and, after the fall of Germany, to Merano, Italy, where she and her father were arrested by the Allied occupation forces in May 1945 and imprisoned at Fresnes. Despite her serious illness she spent several months in gaol in Nice, and was sentenced to ten years of dégradation nationale in June 1946. Her father, condemned to death for treason during the great purge in France by The Left, was quickly shot in February 1946.[2][5] [11][12]

In 1949, Corinne Luchaire published her autobiography, entitled Ma drôle de vie (My funny life), about her stardom in France during World War II. The book was criticised as naive and failing to analyse her supposed role in the German occupation.[9] She died of tuberculosis on 22 January 1950 at the Clinique Médicale Edouard Rist in Paris. She is buried at the Cimetière de Bagneux dans les Hauts-de-Seine.[13]



  1. Ma Drôle de Vie. Retrieved on 2009-08-03.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Grenier, Christian. Corinne Luchaire. Cineartistes. Retrieved on 15 July 2010.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Movie of the week: Prison Without Bars". Life. 13 March 1939. Retrieved 15 July 2010. 
  4. "Men of Good Will". Time. 1949-08-01.,9171,794899,00.html. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "The National Socialists' Courtesan". Life. 24 June 1946. Retrieved 15 July 2010. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Pujos, Olivier (2009). "Epurée de l'affiche". Les Yeux Rouges. Retrieved 15 July 2010. 
  7. Robertson, James Crighton (1993). The hidden cinema: British film censorship in action, 1913-1975. Routledge, 71–2. ISBN Robertson. 
  8. Veillon, Dominique (2002). Fashion under the occupation. Berg Publishers, 26. ISBN 1859735487. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 Guyot-Bender, Martine (1997). "Seducing Corrine: The Official Popular Press during the Occupation", in Melanie Hawthorne, Richard Joseph Golsan: Gender and fascism in modern France. UPNE. ISBN 0874518148. 
  10. (1950) Paru: l'actualité littéraire, intellectuelle et artistique, Issues 57-63. Éditions Odile Pathé. 
  11. Jean LUCHAIRE. Politique Pour Tous. Retrieved on 2009-08-03.
  12. deLucovich, Jean-Pierre (4 February 2002). "Corinne Luchaire, une étoile noire de l'Occupation". Marianne 2.,-une-etoile-noire-de-l-Occupation_a130308.html. Retrieved 15 July 2010. 
  13. "Beauty called a No. 1 Quisling dies in France". Chicago Daily Tribune. 24 January 1950. Retrieved 15 July 2010. 


  • Luchaire, Corinne (1949). Ma drôle de vie. Deterna. 
  • Beylie, Claude (1999). Les Oubliés Du Cinéma Français. Cerf. 

External links