Claude Jade

Actress

1948-2006

An internationally acclaimed French actress, Claude Jade gained fame and adulation as the star of a number of François Truffaut's films, including the 1968 Baisers Volés, which also served as her screen debut. The daughter of English professors, Jade was born in Dijon on October 8, 1948. In addition to her secondary school studies, she spent three years at Dijon's Conservatory of Dramatic Art, where in 1966, she won a Best Actress prize for her portrayal of Agnès in Molière's L'école des Femmes. She subsequently moved to Paris and became a student of Jean-Laurent Cochet at the Edouard VII theater, and also began acting in a number of television productions. It was while she was performing in Pirandello's Henri IV as part of Sacha Pitoeff's production at the Théâtre Moderne that Jade was discovered by Truffaut, who cast her in the role of Christine in his Baisers Volés (1968). Truffaut's third film about Antoine Doinel (Jean-Pierre Léaud), it earned great acclaim, and placed Jade in the international spotlight, thanks to both her strong performance and to her offscreen relationship with Truffaut, with whom she was romantically involved at the time. Jade's portrayal of Doinel's girlfriend also caught the attention of Alfred Hitchcock, who cast her in Topaz (1969). Although the film was one of Hitchcock's most poorly received, Jade went on to enjoy a prolific international career, starring in films in Italy (La ragazza di Via Condotti [1973]) and Japan (Kita No Misaki [1975]), as well as French productions. She also reprised her role as Christine, Antoine Doinel's girlfriend and then wife, in Truffaut's Domicile Conjugal (1970) and L'Amour En Fuite (1979). Although none of her subsequent films were really comparable to the work she did with Truffaut, Jade remained active in the cinema throughout the 1980s and '90s, and also continued to perform on the stage and television. Her many contributions to French culture were recognized in 1998, when she was named a female Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur; two years later, she received the Palm Beach Film Festival's New Wave Award for the "trend-setting role she has played in the world cinema."

Filmography