Odette Joyeux was born to a poor family in Paris, France. She studied dance at the Paris Opera Ballet (Ballet de l'Opéra de Paris) before beginning a career as an actress at age 16 in 1930. After her first notable film role in director Marc Allegret's Entrée des artistes (1938), she became one of France's most popular actresses; she is perhaps best known today for La Ronde (1950). In 1935, she married fellow actor Pierre Brasseur; they were the parents of actor Claude Brasseur. Following a divorce, she married her second husband, director Philippe Agostini, in 1958. When she left acting, she became a writer, and was the author of several novels, screenplays, and essays on dance as well as on inventor Nicephore Niepce. Her 1951 novel for children Côté jardin, Mémoires d'un rat, was adapted in 1966 into a French television series called L'Age heureux; and her novel La Mariée est trop belle (The Bride Is Too Beautiful, 1956) was adapted into a film. In 1994, she published her autobiography, Entrée d'une artiste.