French actress Marie-France Pisier, who memorably appeared in films by Francois Truffaut, who discovered her, and also in pics by Andre Techine and Luis Bunuel, drowned April 24 in Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer in the South of France. She was 66.
Her husband, Thierry Funck-Brentano, discovered her body in the swimming pool of their home, but foul play is not suspected.
At 17 the beautiful and elegant Pisier auditioned successfully for the part of Colette Tazzi, the elusive love object in “Antoine and Colette,” Truffaut’s contribution to the 1962 anthology pic “Love at 20.” Truffaut and Pisier had a brief romance, and he left his wife and children for her for a while. Later the actress reprised the role of Colette twice in Truffaut films — in “Stolen Kisses” (1968) and in “Love on the Run” (1979), which Pisier helped pen.
Pisier was born in Dalat, French Indochina; her father was colonial governor. She came to France at 12 and began acting with an amateur legit troupe in her teens.
After “Antoine and Collette,” Pisier acted in other New Wave and post-New Wave films, including Alain Robbe-Grillet’s “Trans-Europ-Express” (1967).
She collaborated on the screenplay to Jacques Rivette’s “Celine and Julie Go Boating” (1974), playing the mysterious governess therein, and she made three movies with Techine: “French Provincial” (1975), “Barocco” (1976) and “The Bronte Sisters” (1979), in which she starred with Isabelle Adjani and Isabelle Huppert.
She showed a comedic flair in Jean-Charles Tacchella’s 1975 film “Cousin, Cousine” and appeared in Bunuel’s “Phantom of Liberty” (1974).
Her efforts in Hollywood, however, were doomed by poor material: Sidney Sheldon soaper “The Other Side of Midnight” (1977), “French Postcards” (1979) and “Chanel Solitaire” (1981), in which she starred as Coco Chanel. She also appeared in miniseries “The French Atlantic Affair” and “Scruples.”
Back in France, Pisier directed Kristin Scott Thomas in 1990’s “Le Bal du gouverneur” (The Governor’s Ball); Pisier adapted from her novel of the same title, based on her childhood experiences.
Her last film was the 2010 comedy “Il reste du jambon?” (Is There Any Ham Left?).
In addition to her husband, she is survived by a son, a daughter, a sister and a brother.