Brigitte Anne-Marie Bardot, but more commonly known as Brigitte Bardot, was born on the 28th of September 1934 in Paris, France. Brigitte Bardot has done many things in her life. She is most commonly known for being a model, actress and a singer until she retired and became an animal rights activist, which she continues to this day with the Brigitte Bardot Foundation.
Brigitte Bardot was the daughter of a wealthy industrialist. When she was very young her mother enrolled her and her sister in ballet. In 1947, Bardot was accepted to the Conservatoire de Paris, and for three years attended the ballet classes of Russian choreographer Boris Knyazev. At the age of 15, Bardot began modelling and was a hit. On the 8th of March 1950, still only 15 years old, she appeared on the cover of Elle. Bardot was then noticed by a young film director, called Roger Vadim. He showed an issue of the Elle magazine to director and screenwriter Marc Allégret, who offered Bardot the opportunity to audition for Les Lauriers Sont Coupés. Brigitte never got to play the role though, as the film was cancelled, but this changed her mindset forever more and made her think she could be an actress.
Brigitte Bardot’s movie debut came in the 1952 comedy Le Trou Normand (Known in English as Crazy for Love). Bardot also married Roger Vadim in 1952. He was hooked on her sultry looks. Their marriage lasted 5 years, before the couple separated.
Bardot appeared in seventeen films between 1952 – 1956. Brigitte Bardot played the archetypal sex kitten. This is turn led to Brigitte Bardot becoming the first foreign language star to attain the same level of success as American homegrown talents. Although the majority of her films were flops, the majority of viewers were not watching for stimulating dialogue. Viewers were enthralled by Brigitte Bardot’s sultry appeal. In the majority of her films, she was scantily clad and showcased her great physique.
Brigitte Bardot landed her first starring role in the 1956 film La Lumiere d’en Face. Christine Gouze-Renal was the producer of the film and later became her mentor, and handled her career for a number of years. Although still largely unknown, Brigitte Bardot soon enjoyed a serious of hits which by 1957 resulted in her being known as the French sex symbol. Bardot’s popularity continued to soar and when she completed the film Et Dieu Crea la Femme, an erotic drama, she became as international star. This film earned over $4 million in the USA, which was unheard of for a foreign film. Bardot was still being dubbed in films as she couldn’t speak english.
Bardot continued to appear in films and and in 1960 she starred in Babette s’en va-t-en Guerre opposite Jacques Charrier. They went on to marry but the marriage was short lived. However, the marriage was long enough for Bardot to conceive and give birth to her only child, Nicolas-Jacques Charrier. After Bardot’s divorce her son was raised by Jacques Charrier and his family. It wasn’t until Nicolas was much older that he reconnected with his mother.
Due to her success in French films, she went on to star in her first American film, alongside Kirk Douglas, ‘Un acte d’amour’. This and subsequent films established her “sex-kitten” image.
On her 26th birthday, it is rumored that Brigitte Bardot attempted suicide and was taken to hospital to recover. She was filming La Verite and went on to complete that production. La Verite went on to become the biggest French movie of the year but Bardot’s star was beginning to diminish. American and British audiences were beginning to cool towards her.
In 1960, Brigitte Bardot changed tact and moved into the music industry. She released her first pop music album called Inside Brigitte Bardot. A number of other records were released including the 1963 Brigitte Bardot Sings and in 1968 Special Bardot. Brigitte Bardot then went on to have a sexual relationship with the infamous French singer/songwriter Serge Gainsbourg. Until he dumped Bardot for Jane Birkin.
Brigitte Bardot continued to appear in films until around the age of 40, at which point she retired fully from the public eye. To celebrate her 40th birthday, Bardot appeared in a nude photo shoot in the Italian edition of Playboy magazine.
Bardot’s other husbands were German millionaire playboy Gunter Sachs (14 July 1966 – 1 October 1969) and Bernard d’Ormale (16 August 1992 – present). She is reputed to have had relationships with many other men.
Upon retiring from the limelight Brigitte Bardot took on other projects, such as becoming a spokesperson for animal rights. In 1986, she started Foundation Brigitte Bardot, and this has continued to be her focus the last few decades. Bardot has never been shy about voicing her opinion. Over the last decade, she has been charged a number of times for inciting racial hatred because of her comments about Muslim people and about how they try and impose their religious rules in France.
Brigitte Bardot left her mark on the world in so many ways. She was a style icon and there is now a Bardot neckline, which was named after her. She was the subject of an Andy Warhol painting. She is partly responsible for popularizing the modern bikini, which women wear all over the world today. She is also responsible for the beehive hairstyle. It has been suggested that Brigitte Bardot is responsible for the popularity of St. Tropez.