Where Are They Now? Actress Simone Simon

About the actress Simone Simon, history and biography of the Hollywood filmstar.

Headline--1937: SIMONE SIMON

At the Peak: 1937. The kittenish dark lady of the screen tiptoed out of the dressing rooms of Darryl F. Zanuck's celluloid factory and took her place in the sunbaked movie lots of Hollywood--for a brief period of time. The year before, "Europe's Sweetheart" had come from a well-earned artistic film success in France to Twentieth Century-Fox. The directors, with whom she constantly quarreled, had accorded her 2 minor roles, in Under Two Flags and Girl's Dormitory. She lost the female lead in the 1st film to Claudette Colbert; commentators now say that had she held onto it, the part would have guaranteed her stardom in the U.S. A minor part in the 2nd film, alongside Ruth Chatterton and Herbert Marshall, deluged Fox studios with fan mail for the French spitfire. Simone had played a school girl in love with her headmaster, and had rescued a nondescript movie from the oblivion it likely deserved. In 1937, she found herself billed with Jimmy Stewart and Gale Sondergaard (later famous as "the Spider Woman") in Seventh Heaven, a remake of a silent classic--highly thought of at the time but now relegated to the Late Late Show.

The following year, Simone was embroiled in a suit with her private secretary, who had passed over $10,000 in checks by forging Simone's signature. In retaliation, the secretary testified in court that her boss had circulated gold-plated keys to her home among choice paramours. The only man whose name was besmirched in print during this brouhaha was George Gershwin. She returned briefly to France, where she successfully co-starred with Jean Gabin in Jean Renoir's The Human Beast. Hollywood chanced her again, in All That Money Can Buy (the film version of Stephen Vincent Benet's The Devil and Daniel Webster), but she is probably best remembered as the austere wraith of the 2 "Cat People" horror films of the early 1940s, well-loved by monster fans.

And Today: Simone Simon's stage successes in Paris were short-lived. The French press, as ours, has forgotten her redundant name. A New York movie buff has said that she is retired, somewhere in France.

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