Brigitte Anne-Marie Bardot was born on September 28, 1934 in Paris, Île de France, France. She studied ballet as a teenager at the National Superior Conservatory of Paris for Music and Dance and appeared on the cover of France's Elle magazine at the age of 15. She was discovered by screenwriter and future filmmaker Roger Vadim, and the two wed in 1952. Bardot made her big-screen debut that year as well, in “Le Trou Normand”. Various roles followed, including as a romantic leading lady in “La Lumiere d'en Face” (1954) and a handmaiden in “Helen of Troy” (1955).
Brigitte Bardot and Vadim divorced in 1957, but maintained a professional relationship, as he directed her 1958 film “The Night Heaven Fell”. Bardot was featured in other projects as well like “The Parisienne” (1958), “La Femme et le Pantin” (1959) and “Come Dance With Me” (1959). During the making of the 1960 film “La Verité”, however, Bardot attempted suicide on her 26th birthday. Decades later the actress would talk about how nightmarish the world of celebrity had become and the pressures inherent in constantly aiming to display a certain image.
Bardot starred in three Euro-westerns: “Viva Maria! (1965) as Maria Fitzgerald O’Malley, “Shalako” (1968 (as Countess Irina Lazer) and “The Legend of Frenchie King” (1971) as Louise ‘Frenchy’ King.
During the 1960s, Bardot embarked on a career as a musical artist as well, releasing albums like Brigitte Bardot Sings (1960) and Special Bardot (1968). She also recorded hits with French vocalist/songwriter/lounge-man Serge Gainsbourg.
Ultimately having appeared in dozens of films, Bardot retired in 1973 and went to live in St. Tropez. She has subsequently devoted her life to animal activism.
Today we celebrate Brigitte Bardot’s 80th birthday.