French New Wave icon Anna Karina has passed away, age 79. The actress carved out a legacy as the muse of pioneer director Jean-Luc Godard — starring in landmark films A Woman Is a Woman, Pierrot Le Fou, Alphaville, Vivre Sa Vie and many more.
Karina passed away on Saturday in Paris. Her agent Laurent Balandras confirmed that her cause of death was cancer.
“Her gaze was the gaze of the New Wave. It will remain so forever,” shared France’s culture minister Franck Reister. “She magnetized the entire world. Today, French cinema is an orphan. It loses one of its legends.”
Karina’s last film was 2008’s Victoria — which she wrote and directed.
As well as acting, Karina pursued a career in music. In the late-1960s she collaborated with the legendary Serge Gainsbourg, performing songs like ‘Sous le Soleil Exactement’ and ‘Roller Girl’.
Anna Karina was born Hanne Karin Bayer on September 22nd, 1940 in Solbjerg, Denmark. She left school at fourteen to sing in cabarets and work as a television model. At seventeen she hitchhiked to Paris where she was discovered by a casting director of an advertising agency at cafe Les Deux Magots. Whilst shooting for Elle magazine, she met designer Coco Chanel — who recommended she change her name.
Karina leaves behind an untouchable legacy.