The Danish-French actress died in a hospital in Paris after living with cancer.

In response to her death, the French culture minister Franck Riester tweeted “Today, French cinema has been orphaned. It has lost one of its legends.”

Anna Karina rose to prominence as the muse of her director ex-husband Jean-Luc Godard in the 1960s.

She got her big break as a teenager, soon after moving to Paris from her native Denmark, when she was spotted by Godard.

He wanted to cast her in his first and most famous film Breathless, Karina recalled years later, but she turned him down because the role required nudity.

After a few months he offered her another role, cementing their fruitful working relationship and her place in cinematic history. 

In 1961, she and Godard got married – and just months later, Karina won best actress at the Berlin Film Festival for Godard’s A Woman is a Woman.

Although they divorced just four years later, their relationship became almost as iconic as the films they made together.

“It was really a great love story, but very tiring in a way for a young girl because he would go away a lot,” Karina told Vogue in 2016.

“He would say he was going to buy some cigarettes and he would come back three weeks later.”

After their divorce, she continued to have a long and prosperous career, working with filmmakers Jacques Rivette, Luchino Visconti and Tony Richardson.

In the early 1970s she worked behind the camera too, directing Vivre Ensemble, a film about a turbulent romance between a history teacher and a free-spirited young woman that ends in domestic violence and drug abuse.



I am a published writer, journalist and photo-journalist. I have an MA in Creative Writing and Journalism from the University of Wales. My literary work has been represented at the Bologna book fair and my journalism has been published in a number of UK national newspapers including 'the Observer'. My photo-journalism has been represented by Agence France-Presse.


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