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Simone Signoret (1921–1985)

Author of Nostalgia Isn't What It Used to Be

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Simone Kaminker was born to French parents in Wiesbaden, Germany, where her father, an army officer was stationed, and raised in Neuilly-sur-Seine, a suburb of Paris. Her father was Jewish, so Simone took her mother’s surname during the Nazi Occupation in World War II, when she began her film career. Around the same time, she became a member of a group of intellectuals, artists, and writers centered around the Café de Flore. Nicknamed the “thinking man’s sex symbol,” Signoret created film and stage heroines noted for their strength and independence.  In 1950, she married as her second husband Yves Montand, and the couple were known for their involvement in left-wing social justice and human rights issues. Signoret was the first French actress to win an Academy Award (Room at the Top, 1959) and she also received numerous other prestigious acting honors. Her autobiography, La Nostalgie n'est plus ce qu'elle était (Nostalgia Isn't What It Used to Be), was published in 1978. She also wrote a novel, Adieu Volodya (1985).
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