Danish-French actress Anna Karina, muse of New Wave director Jean-Luc Godard, has died of cancer at the age of 79, her agent told AFP on Sunday.
Karina, who epitomized Sixties chic with her elfin features and big kohl-rimmed blue eyes, starred in seven films made by her ex-husband Godard, including "Pierrot Le Fou".
This handout image obtained on April 11, 2018 from the the Cannes Film Festival is the official poster for the 71st festival created by graphic design house Filifox, featuring a rendering by Flore Maquin of a photo by Georges Pierre taken as a still from the 1965 film 'Pierrot le fou' by Jean-Luc Godard and starring Anna Karina (R) and Jean-Paul Belmondo. The 71st annual Cannes Film Festival is set to be held from May 9-18, 2018 with Australian actress Cate Blanchett as head of the jury. (Festival de Cannes/Filifox/AFP/Philippe Savoir, Georges Pierre, Flore Maquin)
"Anna died yesterday in a Paris hospital of the effects of cancer," her agent Laurent Balandras told AFP, adding that she passed away in the company of her fourth husband, American director Dennis Berry.
"Today, French cinema has been orphaned. It has lost one of its legends," Culture Minister Franck Riester tweeted.
Read also: French New Wave film pioneer Agnes Varda dead at 90
Karina was still a teenager when she hitchhiked to Paris from her native Denmark to try to become an actress.
She developed a successful modeling career before being spotted by Godard while walking along the Champs-Elysees.
Godard offered her a nude scene in "Breathless", his first and most famous film, but she refused.
They were already a couple when, at barely 21, she won best actress at the Berlin film festival for his "A Woman is a Woman" in 1961.
"We loved each other a lot," Karina told AFP in an interview in Paris in March 2018. "But it was complicated to live with him," she added.
"He was someone who could say to you, 'I am going to get some cigarettes' and come back three weeks later."
She later slipped behind the camera herself to make "Vivre ensemble", a romance between a history teacher and a free spirited young woman that ends in drugs and domestic violence.
Karina also had some success as a singer, recording "Sous Le Soleil Exactement" with Serge Gainsbourg.