Denise Darcel (1925–2011)
“All my life I go up, down, up, down, I am indestructible.”
Celebrating Denise Darcel:
I admit it. I was stuck.
I couldn’t figure out whether Denise should be viewed as yet another fallen Star who passed through the Hollywood mills before falling to earth and facing the reality that the rest of us peons know on a day to day basis. This perception is probably exaggerated by the sizable cast of very successful Stars who appear in Vera Cruz: Lancaster, Cooper, Montiel, Romero, Bronson, Borgnine … most of who had enjoyed long and illustrious film careers.
And although Denise played the conniving and unsympathetic Countess Marie Duvarre in Vera Cruz, I ultimately found her to be the most accessible and REAL person in the film: a charming lady of great humor and resiliency who cared dearly for her two sons – and did what she needed to do – a survivor.
Denise Darcel Bio:
Born in Paris, Sept. 8, 1925
Passed: Dec. 23, 2011, Los Angeles County, California
Best known for her sensual parts, she will be remembered as Countess Marie Duvarre in the film “Vera Cruz” (1954), which starred Gary Cooper and Burt Lancaster. Born Denise Billecard, she attended the University of Dijon and launched her career in entertainment, initially as a cabaret singer and became a featured vocalist at Paris’ La Comedie Francaise. This popularity along with her radiant looks earned her the distinctions as “The Most Beautiful Girl in Paris” and “The Most Photographed Girl in France”. After marrying an American serviceman, she moved to Hollywood where she marked her motion picture debut with a small role in the picture “To the Victor” (1948). She found more substantial parts with “Battleground” (1949), “Tarzan and the Slave Girl” (1950, opposite Lex Barker), “Westward the Women” (1951, co-starred with Robert Taylor) and “Dangerous When Wet” (1953), while simultaneously appearing on Broadway and TV in the play “Pardon Our French” (1950 to 1951) and the programs “Naked City” and “Combat!”. She retired from acting during the early 1960s to raise her family.
Bio: “Internet Movie Database: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0201005/bio:
“She never took herself or her image too seriously during her prime and was known and admired for her fine sense of humor …
“Hollywood folklore has it that Ms. Darcel gave the cold shoulder to the heated romantic advances of both Columbia mogul Harry Cohn and producer playboy Howard Hughes, and thereby sealed her own fate. While waiting out the snub, she left Hollywood and made live appearances on stage, in dinner theaters and around the nightclub circuit …”