French President Emmanuel Macron led tributes to the husky-voiced actress who starred in more than 100 films and said she had “embodied cinema” and was a free spirit who “always rebelled against the established order”.
Moreau starred in some of the most critically-acclaimed films of the 20th century, including Jules et Jim, Lift to the Scaffold and Eva.
She has been called the “Grand Dame of French New Wave” and has been credited with being a rebel on and off the screen.
US director Orson Welles once described her as “the best actress in the world” but she was also a feminist icon and a trailblazer for liberated women during the time when cinema was slowly waking up to women’s issues.
However, Moreau cursed beauty, famously calling it a “physical disgrace” and it was that spark that had many of the world’s biggest directors asking her to star in their films.
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Moreau was born in Paris in 1928 to an English-born chorus girl and a French restaurant owner.
She took up acting and defied her father’s wishes by joining the Paris conservatoire at the age of 18 before gaining entry to the elite Comedie Francaise theatre troupe two years later.