Claude Jade, byname of Claude Marcelle Jorré (8 October 1948 - 1 December 2006) was a French actress, best known by starring in François Truffaut's films Baisers volés, Domicile conjugal and L'amour en fuite.
The daughter of a professor, she spent three years at Dijon's Conservatory of Dramatic Art, where in 1964, she won a best actress prize for her portrayal of Agnès in Molières L'école des femmes and in 1966 the "Prix de comédie" for Jean Giraudoux' Ondine, which was performed at the "Comédie Boulogne". She subsequently moved to Paris and became a student of Jean-Laurent Cochet at the Edouard VII theater, and also began acting in a number of television productions, including a role as Sylvie Massonneau in TV series Les oiseaux rares (The Rare Birds). It was while she was performing as Frida in Pirandello's Henri IV as part of Sacha Pitoëff's production at the Théâtre Moderne that Claude Jade was discovered by François Truffaut, who was "completely taken by her beauty, her manners, her kindness, and her joie de vivre" and cast her in the role of Christine Darbon in Stolen Kisses (1968). During the working for Stolen Kisses Jade and Truffaut were engaged at one point. Stolen Kisses earned great acclaim, and placed Jade in the international spotlight, thanks to her strong performance, at most her teaching Antoine the best way to butter toast in the morning, their writing each other little notes. The American critic Pauline Kael remarked that Claude Jade "seems a less ethereal, more practical Catherine Deneuve." It was the first of three movies by Truffaut in which she appeared.
Claude Jade reprised her role as Christine, Antoine Doinel's girlfriend and then wife, in Truffaut's movies Bed & Board and Love on the Run. In Bed & Board she gave a critically acclaimed performance, both comic sad. Mindful that Antoine is having an affair with a Japanese beauty, Christine decks herself out as a faux Madame Butterfly to greet him one evening in their apartment. In French cinema, she starred successfully in Edouard Molinaro's Mon oncle Benjamin as Jacques Brel's fiancée Manette, in the 70th as Eleonore in Gérard Brach's The Boat on the Grass (Vincent Canby wrote: "Adorable Acting, especially by Claude Jade, who brings the right mixture of conventionalism and self-interest into her role."), as Annie Girardot's and Jean Rochefort's daughter Laura, who falls in Love with Bernard Fresson in Hearth Fires (1972), as Françoise, the Love of the Catholic priest Robert Hossein in Forbidden Priests (1973), as charming widow and single mother Dominique, who falls in love with her son's teacher, in The Pawn (1978) and many others. Claude Jade has often appeared in TV productions. She starred - as Véronique d'Hergemont - in the television series The Island of Thirty Coffins (1979), one of her biggest successes. In cinema she also has starred in dual roles in Le Choix (1975) and in Lise et Laura (1982).
Claude Jade has also worked very often outside France - in USSR, USA, Japan...
She starred as Michèle Picard in Alfred Hitchcock's Topaz, as the anxious secret agent's daughter married to a reporter (Michel Subor). Hitchcock engaged the 19-year-old French actress, and her first day for shooting Topaz was her 20th birthday. She and Dany Robin, cast as her mother, would provide the glamour in the story. "Claude Jade is a rather quiet young lady," Hitchcock said later, "but I wouldn't guarantee that
about her behavior in a taxi".
Her international career continued in Belgium, where she played in 1969 a young English teacher who is his witness to a murder and is as fatally intrigued by the murderer in The Witness, followed by Home Sweet Home, in which she plays a hard nurse under the influence of the home-director and who is changed by a love affair with a social worker played by Jacques Perrin - and Le Choix in the dual role of two different women. Claude Jade starred in Italian in Number one, La ragazza di via Condotti and Una spirale di nebbia.
The Japanese director Kei Kumai engaged her as Nun Maria Teresa in Kita No Misaki - Cape of North, the German director Gabi Kubach engaged her for Rendez-vous in Paris and during the early 80s she also starred in two Soviet movies.
In the 1980s Jade settled for three years in Moscow with her diplomat-husband and her son Pierre Coste (born in 1976) and subsequently spent three years in Cyprus.
In this period she starred in two Russian films (as mysterious terrorist Françoise in Teheran 43 and as Bolshevik Inessa Armand in Lenin in Paris).
She has also during that time appeared in tv-movies (L'amie d'enfance, Treize, La grotte aux loups, Nous ne l'avons pas assez aimée, Au bout du chemin, Voglia di volare) and in cinema as philosophy-teacher in Le bahut va craquer, as lawyer Valouin in A Captain's Honor, as Evelyne Droste in German movie Rendez-vous in Paris, as Marelle in Une petite fille dans les tournesols and as Alice in L'homme qui n'était pas là. During the time at Nicosia she has also played on stage in Lyon
During the 1990s Jade worked more in television, as Sylvie in tv-series La tête en l'air, in a guest-starring role in The Hitchhiker episode "Windows", in which she shoots down her co-star David Marshall Grant and in some TV movies (L'Éternité devant soi, Au bonheur des autres, Porté disparu and others). During that time she has made some notable screen appearances: She stars as Gabrielle, a mother betrayed by her husband, in Honor Roll. This was followed by her performance as shy lesbian Caroline in Jean-Pierre Mocky's Bonsoir. In order to save her inheritance she tells her aunt, that her lover Gloria (Corinne Le Poulain) is her secretary and Alex (Michel Serrault) her lover. In 1998 she plays the governor's wife Reine Schmaltz, who saves herself on a life-boat in historical movie The Raft of the Medusa)
On stage she was a member of Jean Meyer's theatre company in Lyon, appearing in plays by Jean Giraudoux (Helena in La guerre de Troie n'aura pas lieu-The Trojan war will not take place and Isabelle in Intermezzo), Henry de Montherlant (Port Royal), James Joyce (The Exiles), Jean Racine (Britannicus) and Honoré de Balzac (Le Faiseur). She took other notable roles in plays by Vladimir Volkoff (The Interrogation), Catherine Decours (Regulus 93), Michel Vinaver (Dissident il va sans dire), Alfred de Musset (Lorenzaccio) and others. She was engaged on stages in Lyon, Nantes, Dijon and Paris. Many plays were adapted for TV, such as her performances as Helena in Shakespeares Midsummer Night's Dream, her Sylvie in Marcel Aymés Les oiseaux de lune, her Colomba in Jules Romains' adaptation of Ben Johnson's Volpone, her Clarisse in Jacques Deval's Il y a longtemps que je t'aime, her title role in Supervielles Sheherazade and her Louise de La Vallière in Le château perdu.
Her last stage role was in Jacques Rampal's Celimene and the Cardinal, a new Play in Alexandrins based on Molières characters from Le Misanthrope, Célimène and Alceste, performed in Paris and at festivals in 2006.
From 1998 to 2000 she was the leading actress of the television series Tide of Life (Cap des Pins) as "Anna Chantreuil".
From the late 1990s onward she starred in several made-for-TV movies ("Le bonheur des autres", "Porté disparue", "Sans famille"...) and TV-series like Cap des Pins (leading role from 1998 to 2000), La tête en l'air, Fleur bleue, Une femme d'honneur, Inspecteur Moretti, Julie Lescaut, Navarro, La Crim (episode "Le secret" in 2004), and Groupe Flag (episode Vrai ou faux in 2005). During the 2000th she also starred in short films (Drugs!, A San Remo) and acted on stage (as Maria Soderini in Lorenzaccio and as Célimène in Célimène et le cardinal).
Her autobiography, Baisers envolés, was released in March 2004. Her last stage role as Célimène she has performed until August 2006. She died of a retinoblastoma in December 2006, following liver cancer, leaving behind her husband, French diplomat Bernard Coste, whom she married in 1972, and her son Pierre (born in 1976
In 1970 she won an award for Révelation de la Nuit du cinéma, and in 1975 she received the Prix Orange at the Cannes Festival. Her many contributions to French culture were recognised in 1998, when she was named a Knight in the Légion d'honneur. In 2000 she received the New Wave Award at West Palm Beach International Film Festival for her "trend-setting role in the world cinema", followed in 2002 by Prix Réconnaissance des Cinéphiles in Puget-Théniers.