She is an icon of the 50s and 60s, muse of the greatest artists of the period, "sex-symbol" and at the same time an emblem of women's liberation!
Adulated for her beauty and passion, criticized for her outspokenness and sometimes scoffed at for her unfailing commitment to animal rights, the legendary BB found a way to liberate herself from the media and journalists to live in freedom and independence today.
Brigitte Anne-Marie Bardot was born in Paris on September 28, 1934. Her parents are Louis Bardot (industrialist) and Anne-Marie Mucel. Brigitte would spend her childhood in the comfort of a strict bourgeois family.
Along with studies, Brigitte also takes classical dance classes at the Conservatoire and would obtain several first prizes. (Little anecdote: Leslie Caron was in the same dance class as Brigitte and would go on to gain fame in the USA as the American actor and choreographer Gene Kelly's partner)
May 5, 1938 marks the birth of Brigitte's sister Marie-Jeanne, nicknamed "Mijanou" (she is married to the actor Patrick Bauchau and lives in Los Angeles).
Brigitte's grace quickly attracts attention to the young girl. So she poses for the first time at the age of 15 in 1949 for the magazine Le Jardin des Modes. She is soon hired by the directress of ELLE, Hélène Lazareff (one of her mother's friends).
In 1950, she catches the attention of the director Marc Allégret who offers her a role in his next film "Les lauriers sont coupés". The film would never be made but she has just met a young assistant, Roger Vadim. She is only 15 years old and he is almost 22. It is love at first sight (marriage is mentioned but Brigitte's parents insist that their daughter be 18 years old before marrying).
In 1952, she makes her film debut in Jean Boyer's "Le Trou Normand" beside Bourvil. That same year she marries Roger Vadim on December 20th. The marriage would be celebrated at the Passy church. (They would divorce in 1956).
Everything would then start happening for this outrageous young beauty.
In 1953, she has her first and only experience in theatre acting, playing in Jean Anouilh's "L'invitation au Château" at the Théâtre de l’Atelier.
But it is at the Cannes festival that her career takes off, because the simple starlet that she is already outshines the stars of the period. She sets photographers' cameras flashing and her sex appeal rattles the Croisette. It is even rumoured that the actor Kirk Douglas tried to take her back to the United States.
Brigitte has an air of naturalness and such sensuality that few people would resist this exceptional young woman, because of her poise and beauty and her provocative and immodest youth.
From then on she would have succeeding roles in film after film, such as Marc Allégret's "Future Vedettes", Néron de Steno's "Les Week-ends", René Clair's "Les Grande Manœuvres" where she plays a supporting role beside Gérard Philippe and Michèle Morgan, as well as "Cette Sacrée Gamine" and "En Effeuillant la Marguerite", etc…
But things really fall into place in 1956 when "Et Dieu Créa La Femme", produced by Roger Vadim in Saint-Tropez shows in cinemas. This film would be one of the biggest scandals in film history at that time. It tells the story of how Juliette (BB) has three different men lusting after her, in a manner considered to be indecent. Brigitte appears in it notably performing a memorable mambo, a scene that would become mythical. The film triggers a real passion for the actress (first in the United States) and gives rise to an unequalled "bardolatry" worldwide.
In 1958, Brigitte buys her famous property "La Madrague" in Saint-Tropez.
Now a true star, the young woman, who is basically emotional and shy, remains very sensitive to critics and her excessive mediatisation. Women make her their idol, dress and style their hair like her... or are jealous of her. Men fall victim to her charm. Nothing would ever stop the BB myth again; the legend was well on its way.
In 1959, Jacques Charrier, a young actor, would become her second husband with whom she would have her only child Nicolas, born on January 11, 1960. She would divorce in 1962.
In 1961, Jorge Vieira, a South-American singer, sings the famous Brigitte Bardot, Bardot samba. The following year, Brigitte makes her first record, "Sidonie". This does not stop her from acting in films with the greatest (Clouzot, Malle, Godard, Molinaro, Duvivier, Autant-Lara, etc…) in 48 films, among them: "En Cas de Malheur", "Vie Privée", "La Vérité", "L’Ours et la Poupée", "Le Mépris", "Viva Maria", etc…
In 1962, Brigitte's name is added to the dictionary, "le Petit Larousse".
That same year, on the TV programme "5 Colonnes à la une", Brigitte condemns the conditions of animal slaughter in slaughter houses in France.
In1967, Brigitte marries the billionaire playboy Gunter Sachs in Las Vegas. They would divorce in 1969.
She meets Serge Gainsbourg, who had already suggested a song for her in 1963 and who would write her most successful songs: "Harley Davidson", "Bonnie and Clyde", "Contact", "Comic Strip", "Bubble Gum" and especially… "Je t’aime moi non plus", a very erotic and scandalous song (at the time) and which would be sung over by Jane Birkin and become well-known…
In all, Brigitte would sing almost 80 songs, including the famous "Sur la Plage Abandonnée" by Jean-Max Rivière.
In 1969, Brigitte is the first French woman chosen to symbolise "Marianne" a figure of the Republic. The bust is sculpted by the sculptor Aslan.
In 1973, Brigitte decides to bring her film career to an end.
In 1977, she starts a wide media campaign with her Swiss friend Franck Weber, by going to the Canadian ice shelf to condemn the massacre of baby seals for their fur. Her voyage would last five days under incredible media pressure. On her return to France, she would succeed in getting the vote passed to ban fur trading resulting from this massacre, thanks notably to the support of the President at that time, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing.
In 1985, Brigitte receives the Legion of Honour … which she would never collect!
In 1986, she creates “La Fondation Brigitte Bardot” (The Brigitte Bardot Foundation).
To provide the 3 million francs required by her Foundation, in 1987 Brigitte auctions off her jewellery, works of art and other valuable objects.
In 1991, Brigitte donates her property "La Madrague" to her Foundation.
In 1992, the foundation is declared to be of public use by the Council of State.
From 1989 to 1992, Brigitte presents a series of 12 programmes, "SOS Animaux" on the first channel TF1, which would enjoy tremendous success with the public.
In 1992, Brigitte meets Bernard d’Ormale with whom she still shares her life today.
Publication of the 1st issue of the quarterly magazine Fondation B.B., "l'Info-Journal" (46,000 subscribers).
In 1996, Brigitte publishes her memoirs with Editions Grasset (2 volumes: "Initiales B.B." and "Le Carré de Pluton". More than 1.8 million copies sold. ("Initiales B.B." was translated in more than thirty countries and obtained the "Paul Léautaud" prize in France and the "Chianciano" prize in Italy.
In 2003, Brigitte publishes a book with Editions du Rocher, "Un Cri dans le Silence", condemning the decline of French values and traditions. This book would cause a huge controversy and a lawsuit but would sell more than 380,000 copies in France and receive the "Intellectuels Indépendants" prize.
In 2006, Brigitte presides over the 20th anniversary of her Foundation at the Marigny theatre in Paris. This is her last public appearance. She goes on to publish a book with Editions du Rocher, "Pourquoi", which retraces her Foundation's 20 years of combat.
In 2007, Brigitte donates her Bazoches property (Yvelines) to her Foundation.
In 2010 an exhibit consecrated to Brigitte is presented in Boulogne Billancourt and then in Saint-Tropez. It is the first worldwide and a tremendous success. Its exhibits would be introduced by her friend Bruno Ricard.
In 2011, Brigitte's Foundation would celebrate its 25th year (72,000 donors, 600 delegates, 90 employees). It works worldwide for the protection of wild animals and pets.
Fondation Brigitte Bardot
28, rue Vineuse
Tel : 01.45.05.14.60