“I have been very happy, very rich, very beautiful, much adulated, very famous, and very unhappy.”
– Brigitte Bardot
In our opinion, besides being one of the most talented and critically acclaimed actresses of her time, Bridgitte Bardot is one of the most beautiful women the world has ever seen; even her name is rolls gorgeously off the tongue. She was one of the best known sex symbols of the 1950s and 1960s and was widely known by her initials, B.B.
Bardot was born in Paris, the daughter of Louis Bardot (1896–1975) and Anne-Marie “Toty” Bardot (née Mucel; 1912–1978). Louis had an engineering degree and worked with his father, Charles Bardot, in the family business. Louis and Anne-Marie married in 1933.
Bardot grew up in an upper middle-class Roman Catholic home.When she was seven she was admitted to the Cours Hattemer, a private school. She went to school three days a week, and otherwise studied at home. This gave time for lessons at Madame Bourget’s dance studio three days a week. Brigitte’s mother also enrolled Brigitte’s younger sister, Marie-Jeanne (born 5 May 1938), in dance.
Bardot was an aspiring ballerina in her early life. She started her acting career in 1952. After appearing in 16 routine comedy films, with limited international release, she became world-famous in 1957 after starring in the controversial film And God Created Woman.
Bardot caught the attention of French intellectuals. She was the subject of Simone de Beauvoir’s 1959 essay, The Lolita Syndrome, which described Bardot as a “locomotive of women’s history” and built upon existentialist themes to declare her the first and most liberated woman of post-war France.
She later starred in Jean-Luc Godard’s 1963 film Le Mépris. For her role in Louis Malle’s 1965 film Viva Maria! Bardot was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actress. From 1969 to 1978, Bardot was the official face of Marianne, the national symbol/mascot of France, (who had previously been anonymous) to represent the liberty of France.
Bardot retired from the entertainment industry in 1973. During her career in show business, she starred in 47 films, performed in several musical shows and recorded over 60 songs. She was awarded the Legion of Honor in 1985 but refused to receive it. After her retirement, she established herself as an animal rights activist. During the 2000s, she generated controversy by criticizing immigration and Islam in France and has been fined five times for inciting racial hatred.