an affair, a scandal and consequences

BIOGRAPHY OF YVES MONTAND. On the occasion of the centenary of French singer and actor Yves Montand, certain aspects of his life come to the surface …

[Mis à jour le 14 octobre 2021 à 20h18] Yves Montand would have been 100 years old on Wednesday, October 13, 2021. To celebrate this centenary, France 3 is broadcasting, this Thursday, the documentary Montand est à nous, directed by Yves Jeuland and which traces the life of Ivo Livi, alias Yves Montand, of his debut to fame, through his political commitments and … the women in his life. If the singer and actor was married to the actress Simone Signoret, he also had a relationship with the American icon Marilyn Monroe.

In 1960, Ivo Livi, known as Yves Montand, is in the cast of the Hollywood musical film The billionaire, alongside a certain Marilyn Monroe, with whom he will have an affair. The American icon is in a relationship with Arthur Miller. The two lovers meet during a Yves Montand concert on Broadway. During the filming of the Billionaire, the two stars appear together, causing one of the first media-people scandals. If the French singer will remain married to Simone Signoret until 1985, the date of the latter’s death, Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller divorced a few months later, in 1961.

This affair and its consequences will remain significant for the entourage of the two lovers, in particular for Jean-Louis Livi, the singer’s nephew. “I read letters that Marilyn wrote to Montand, he remembers at the microphone of France Inter. I heard Montand talk to me about her and I believe that it was she who undoubtedly suffered the most, since Simone with her extraordinary strength was not able to get over it, but was able to explain that these are things that happen. in life. But Marilyn died of it, I think. I think her story with Montand was a terrible wound for her. “For Yves Montand’s nephew,” Marilyn was his most fervent admirer. “

Ivo Livi, better known under the name of Yves Montand, was born in Italy on October 13, 1921. His family moved to Marseille. He goes on odd jobs and manages to make a place for himself as a singer in a cabaret. He sings the titles Dead leaves, The bicycle and many others. Yves Montant is known to the great directors and launches into the cinema. He landed his first major role in 1952. He notably played in Is Paris Burning? and Megalomania. With Simone Signoret, they are one of the most famous couples in French cinema. He died on November 9, 1991 of a heart attack at the age of 70.

Yves Montand, whose real name is Ivo Livi, was born on October 13, 1921 in Italy, a year before Mussolini came to power. His parents then settled in Marseille seeking to flee the fascist regime. Coming from a militant working-class family, he was the last of three children and had a difficult childhood. At the age of 11, he had to work in the factory, then he became a hairdresser a few years later. In 1929, the Livi family obtained French nationality and Ivo took the name of Yves. In 1938, aged 17, Yves Montand was hired as a driver in a cabaret in Marseille and succeeded in making a place for himself as a singer.

Ivo Livi becomes Yves Montand in memory of his mother who told him “Ivo, went up” when she called him to go up to the apartment. Yves Montand experienced a dazzling success which was interrupted by the Second World War. Fleeing the construction sites of Provence, he went to Paris and made himself known in the musical world. Thanks to the support ofEdith Piaf, the young singer becomes a star of the French music hall. He sings in particular Dead leaves, It is so good, But what do I have? or The bicycle. The singer performs in concert at the Théâtre de l’Etoile and at the Alhambra.

In 1945, Yves Montand began his film career in Star without light alongside Edith Piaf. He then becomes her lover which allows her to meet great directors and starts working in the cinema. He landed his first major role in 1952 in The Wages of Fear by Henri-Georges Clouzot. Yves Montant wins the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival. During the 1960s and 1970s, the actor had a series of successes. We can see it in Is Paris on fire? by René Clément in 1966 or in Megalomania next to Louis de Funes in 1971. The 1980s marked his presence in two legendary films by Claude Berri: Jean de Florette and Manon des sources.

Yves Montand and Louis de Funès in the film La Folie des grandeurs
Yves Montand and Louis de Funès in the film La Folie des grandeurs © SIPA

In August 1949, Yves Montand met Simone Signoret and it’s love at first sight. She moved in with Yves Montand and his daughter, Catherine Allégret, born from a previous union. The couple married in December 1951 and formed the flagship couple of French cinema. Despite their love, Yves Montand is very fickle. When the couple leave for Hollywood to shoot the movie The billionaire, Yves Montand meets Marilyn Monroe. During the filming, he has an affair with the actress. Between Yves Montand and Simone Signoret, the romance lasts despite the actor’s infidelities. Shortly before the death of his wife, the singer meets Carole Amiel, a young assistant. Together, they have a son, Valentin, born December 31, 1988.

Yves Montand and Simone Signoret in the early 1950s
Yves Montand and Simone Signoret in the early 1950s © LIDO / SIPA

End of September, in his last film IP5 – The island of pachyderms, Yves Montand must bathe in an icy lake of the ponds of Commelles in the forest of Chantilly, in the Oise. Although protected by a diving suit under his clothes, he feels uneasy right after the shoot. On November 9, 1991, the day after the last day of filming, Yves Montand died at the age of 70 at the Senlis hospital from a myocardial infarction. He is buried in the Père-Lachaise cemetery, in Paris, alongside his wife, Simone Signoret. The actor planned to make his comeback on the Bercy stage the following year.

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