Michèle Morgan was born Simone Renée Roussel in Neuilly-sur-Seine, a wealthy suburb of Paris.
She left home at the age of 15 determined to become an actress and worked as an extra in films to pay for her acting classes. She got her first major role in the 1937 film Gribouille, for which she adopted the stage name Michèle Morgan.
The following year, she rocketed to stardom in Marcel Carné's now-classic film Le Quai des brumes opposite Jean Gabin.
With the invasion of France by Germany in World War II, she went to Hollywood where she was put under contract by RKO Pictures. Her American films included Joan of Paris (1942), Higher and Higher (1943), and Passage to Marseille (1944). After the war, she returned to France and quickly won a Best Actress award at the Cannes Film Festival with her performance in La Symphonie Pastorale (1946). Other notable films included The Fallen Idol (1948), Fabiola (1949), The Proud and the Beautiful (1953), Les Grandes Manœuvres (1955), and Marie-Antoinette reine de France (1956).
She continued starring in films throughout the 1960s and retired in the 1970s. For her long service to the French motion picture industry, she was given an Honorary César Award in 1992. In 1996, she also received the Career Golden Lion for lifetime achievement at the Venice Film Festival.
She published her autobiography, Avec ces yeux-là (With Those Eyes) in 1977.