Yves Montand

Yves Montand

Born Ivo Livi
(1921-10-13)13 October 1921
Monsummano Terme, Italy
Died 9 November 1991(1991-11-09) (aged 70)
Senlis, Oise, France
Occupation Actor, singer
Years active 1946–1991
Spouse(s) Simone Signoret (1951–1985; her death)
Carole Amiel (1987–1991; his death); 1 son

Ivo Livi, better known as Yves Montand (French pronunciation: [iv mɔ̃tɑ̃]; 13 October 1921 – 9 November 1991), was an Italian-French actor and singer.

Early life

Montand was born Ivo Livi in Monsummano Terme, Italy, to Giuseppina (née Simoni) and Giovanni Livi, a Jewish broom manufacturer.[1][2][3] Giuseppina was a devout Catholic, while Giovanni held strong Communist beliefs.[1] Montand's family left for France in 1923 because of Italy's Fascist regime.[4] He grew up in Marseille, where, as a young man, he worked in his sister's beauty salon (Salon de Coiffure), and later on the docks. He began a career in show business as a music-hall singer. In 1944, he was discovered by Édith Piaf in Paris and she made him part of her act.


Montand went on to international recognition as a singer and actor, starring in numerous films. His recognizably crooner songs, especially those about Paris, became instant classics. He was one of the most famous performers at Bruno Coquatrix's famous Paris Olympia music hall, and toured with musicians including Didi Duprat. In October 1947, he sang Mais qu’est-ce que j’ai ? (music by Henri Betti and lyrics by Édith Piaf) at the Théâtre de l'Étoile. The composer of this song had him offer also sing C'est si bon he had written but Yves Montand refused. Following the success of the recording of this song by the Sœurs Étienne in 1948, he decided to record it.

During his career, Montand acted in a number of American motion pictures as well as on Broadway. He was nominated for a César Award for "Best Actor" in 1980 for I comme Icare and again in 1984 for Garçon! In 1986, after his international box-office draw power had fallen off considerably, the 65-year-old Montand gave one of his most memorable performances, as the scheming uncle in the two-part film: Jean de Florette, co-starring Gérard Depardieu, and Manon des Sources, co-starring Emmanuelle Béart. The film was a worldwide critical hit and raised Montand's profile in the US, where he made an appearance on Late Night with David Letterman.[5]

Personal life

In 1951, he married Simone Signoret, and they co-starred in several films throughout their careers. The marriage was, by all accounts, fairly harmonious, lasting until her death in 1985, although Montand had a number of well-publicized affairs, notably with Marilyn Monroe, with whom he starred in one of her last films, Let's Make Love.

Montand's only child, Valentin, his son by his second wife, Carole Amiel, was born in 1988. In a paternity suit that rocked France, another woman accused Montand of being the father of her daughter and went to court to obtain a DNA sample from him. Montand refused, but the woman persisted after his death. In a court ruling that made international headlines, the woman won the right to have Montand exhumed and a sample taken.[6] The results indicated that he was probably not the girl's biological father.[7]

Signoret and Montand had a home in Autheuil-Authouillet, Normandy, where the main village street is named after him,

In his later years he maintained a home in St Paul de Vence, Provence, until his death from a heart attack.[8] In an interview, Jean-Jacques Beineix said, "[H]e died on the set [of IP5: The Island of Pachyderms]... On the very last day, after his very last shot. It was the very last night and we were doing retakes. He finished what he was doing and then he just died. And the film tells the story of an old man who dies from a heart attack, which is the same thing that happened!"[9] Montand is interred next to his first wife, Simone Signoret, in Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.

In 2004, Catherine Allegret, the daughter of Montand's first wife Simone Signoret, alleged in her autobiography "Un Monde a L'envers" (A World Upside Down), that she had been sexually abused by her stepfather since the age of 5 and that he assaulted her well into adulthood.[10]


Yves Montand as Formula One driver Jean-Pierre Sarti in Grand Prix, 1966
Year Title Role Director
1946 Star Without Light Pierre Marcel Blistène
Gates of the Night Diego Marcel Carné
1948 L'idole Fontana Alexander Esway
1950 Souvenirs perdus Raoul Christian-Jaque
1951 Paris Is Always Paris cameo appearance Luciano Emmer
1953 Le salaire de la peur Mario Henri-Georges Clouzot
1954 Tempi Nostri Vasco Alessandro Blasetti and Paul Paviot
1955 Heroes and Sinners Michel Rivière Yves Ciampi
Napoléon François Joseph Lefebvre Sacha Guitry
Marguerite de la nuit Monsieur Léon Claude Autant-Lara
1956 The Wolves Ricuccio Giuseppe De Santis
1957 Les Sorcières de Salem John Proctor Raymond Rouleau
La grande strada azzurra Squarciò Gillo Pontecorvo
1958 Premier mai Jean Meunier Luis Saslavsky
1959 Legge, La Matteo Brigante Jules Dassin
1960 Let's Make Love Clement/Dumas George Cukor
1961 Sanctuary the candy man Tony Richardson
Goodbye Again Roger Demarest Anatole Litvak
1962 My Geisha Paul Robaix Jack Cardiff
1963 Le Joli Mai the narrator Chris Marker
1965 Compartiment tueurs Inspector Grazziani Costa-Gavras
1966 La guerre est finie Diego Mora Alain Resnais
Is Paris Burning? Marcel Bizien René Clément
Grand Prix Jean- Pierre Sarti John Frankenheimer
1967 Vivre pour vivre Robert Colomb Claude Lelouch
1968 Un soir, un train Mathias André Delvaux
1969 Mr. Freedom cameo appearance as Captain Formidable William Klein
Z Grigoris Lambrakis Costa-Gavras
Le Diable par la queue Baron César Maricorne Philippe de Broca
1970 On a Clear Day You Can See Forever Marc Chabot Vincente Minnelli
Le Cercle Rouge Jansen Jean-Pierre Melville
L'Aveu Gérard Costa-Gavras
Kelly's Heroes German Sturmbannführer (uncredited) Brian G. Hutton
1971 La folie des grandeurs Blaze Gérard Oury
1972 Tout va bien as himself Jean-Luc Godard and Jean-Pierre Gorin
César et Rosalie César Claude Sautet
État de Siège Philip Michael Santore Costa-Gavras
1973 Le Fils Ange Orahona Pierre Granier-Deferre
1974 Chance and Violence Laurent Bermann Philippe Labro
Vincent, François, Paul...et les autres Vincent Claude Sautet
1975 Le Sauvage Martin Jean-Paul Rappeneau
1976 Police Python 357 Marc Ferrot Alain Corneau
Le Grand Escogriffe Morland Claude Pinoteau
1977 La Menace Henri Savin Alain Corneau
Le fond de l'air est rouge narrator Chris Marker
1978 Roads to the South Jean Larrea Joseph Losey
1979 Clair de femme Michel Costa-Gavras
I as in Icarus Michel Henri Verneuil
1981 Le Choix des armes Noël Durieux Alain Corneau
1982 Tout feu, tout flamme Victor Valance Jean-Paul Rappeneau
1983 Garçon! Alex Claude Sautet
1986 Jean de Florette César Soubeyran Claude Berri
Manon des Sources
1988 Trois places pour le 26 as himself Jacques Demy
1991 Netchaïev est de retour Pierre Marroux Jacques Deray
1992 IP5: L'île aux pachydermes Léon Marcel Jean-Jacques Beineix


  • 1952: Chante (Odéon)
  • 1953: Chante ses dernières créations (Odéon)
  • 1953: Chante Paris (Odéon)
  • 1953: Récital au Théâtre de l'Étoile 1953 (Odéon, live)
  • 1954: Chante ses derniers succès (Odéon)
  • 1954: # 54 (Odéon)
  • 1955: Chansons populaires de France (Odéon)
  • 1957: 13 ans déjà ! (Odéon)
  • 1958: Dix chansons pour l'été (Odéon)
  • 1958: Succès du Récital 1958 au Théâtre de L'Étoile (Odéon)
  • 1958: Récital 1 + Récital 2 (Philips)
  • 1958: Étoile 58 (Philips)
  • 1960: Dansez avec Yves Montand (Philips)
  • 1961: Rengaine ta rengaine (Philips)
  • 1962: Chante Prévert (Philips)
  • 1962: Récital 63 – Intégral du Théâtre de l'Étoile (Philips, live)
  • 1967: 7 (Philips)
  • 1968: La Bicyclette (Philips)
  • 1968: Le Paris de... (Philips)
  • 1968: À l'Olympia (Philips, live)
  • 1970: On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (Columbia, soundtrack with Barbra Streisand)
  • 1972: Dans son dernier "One man show" intégral (CBS, live)
  • 1974: Montand de mon temps (CBS or TriStar Music)
  • 1981: D'hier et d'aujourd'hui (Philips)
  • 1981: Le disque de la paix (Philips)
  • 1982: Olympia 81 (Philips)
  • 1983: In English (Philips)
  • 1984: Chante David Mc Neil (Philips)
  • 1988: Trois places pour le 26 (Philips, w/ Mathilda May, soundtrack)
  • 1993: Les années Odéon – 1945–1958 (Columbia, 9-CD boxset)
  • 1997: Plaisirs inédits (Universal)
  • 2000: Et la fête continue – Intégrale 1945–1949 – Vol. 1 (Frémeaux)
  • 2001: Inédits, rares & indispensables (Mercury, 4-CD boxset)
  • 2004: Sensationnel – Intégrale 1949–1953 – Vol. 2 (Frémeaux)
  • 2007: Une étoile à l'Étoile – Intégrale 1953–1954 – Vol. 3 (Frémeaux, live)


  1. 1 2 Montand, Yves; Hervé Hamon; Patrick Rotman (1992). You see, I haven't forgotten. Knopf. pp. 4–30. ISBN 0679410120.
  2. Rosen, Marjorie (25 November 1991). "Adieu, Yves". People. 36 (20).
  3. "Yves Montand – Obituary". The Telegraph. 11 Nov 1991.
  4. Hodgson, Moira (5 September 1982). "Yves Montand – From The Music Hall To The Met". The New York Times.
  5. "Late Night with David Letterman (a Guest Stars & Air Dates Guide)". Retrieved 14 May 2013.
  6. "Body of Entertainer Montand Exhumed – Los Angeles Times". articles.latimes.com. 12 March 1998. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  7. Rachel G. Fuchs (2008). Contested Paternity: Constructing Families in Modern France. JHU Press. p. 272. ISBN 0801898161.
  8. Yves Montand. IMDb
  9. "The Return of Jean-Jacques Beineix, Pt. II", Video Business, 5 June 2009. Retrieved 17 June 2009.
  10. "Actress says cinema idol stepfather abused her". independent.ie. 30 September 2004. Retrieved 10 January 2015.
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