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Obituary: Cécile Aubry

Actress who went on to write children's books and television series, including Belle et Sébastien

Born: 3 August, 1928, in Paris.

Died: 19 July, 2010, in Dourdan, France, aged 81.

Ccile Aubry was a French actress who had a short but glamorous film career and who later became a writer, creating a well-known and much loved children's television series .

Aubry began her career as a dancer and was just 20 when she appeared in the racy title role of Manon, a 1949 film by Henri-Georges Clouzot set after the Second World War in France and telling the story of the morally dubious escapades of a capricious, luxury-seeking young woman and her corrupting influence on her lover.

The film won the Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival and she got the attention of international film producers, who were attracted by her coquettish French beauty.

Seized on by Hollywood, she was immediately cast in The Black Rose, a medieval adventure story filmed in England and Morocco that also starred Tyrone Power and Orson Welles.

The two parts landed Aubry a feature in Life magazine, which showed her in a sultry, Lolita-like photograph on the cover and described her in the accompanying article as a "frisky, pert, sugar-and-spice bundle of adolescence."

Her film career was short-lived, however: she made six more movies in Europe, the last in 1960, and when she retired she reportedly said that she had been interested in making movies only for the opportunity to travel. And while she lived in the United States she employed her own parents as her publicity team, thus ensuring she retained her presence in her home country.

Aubry had married into a powerful Moroccan family in what some sources say was a secret marriage; her husband, Si Brahim El Glaoui, was a son of the pasha of Marrakesh.

After the marriage ended she turned to writing children's stories, gaining special fame by turning two of them into television series. First there was Poly, first broadcast in 1961, about a boy and a horse, and then Belle et Sbastien (1965), about the friendship between an orphan boy and the dog he finds wandering in the mountains.

Both series starred her son, Mehdi El Glaoui, as did a later series she wrote about the tribulations of a teenager, Le Jeune Fabre.

Belle et Sbastien was dubbed for British television (as Belle and Sebastian) in 1967 and adapted in 1981 for a Japanese animated series, Meiken Jolie, which was itself translated into English. The Scottish rock band Belle and Sebastian took its name from Aubry's tale as well.

Aubry was born Anne-Jos Madeleine Henriette Bnard (or according to some sources, including Life, simply Anne Jos Bnard) in Paris in August 1928.

Ccile Aubry died, aged 81, from lung cancer.

 
 
 

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