She graced the cover of Elle magazine as a teenager and went to star in a number of movies before being featured in 1956’s And God Created Woman, which found her to international acclaim. She appeared in dozens of movies over her profession, including Contempt and Viva Maria!, and retired from acting in the 1970s. She’s later committed her life to animal activism.
She was found by screenwriter and future filmmaker Roger Vadim, as well as the two wed in 1952. Bardot made her big screen debut that year at the same time, in Le Trou Normand.
The movie was noted because of its avant-garde nudity and sexual dynamics, proving popular to moviegoers and launch Bardot to international stardom. In her movies and off-screen captures by the paparazzi, Bardot became well-known for showing a naturalistic, free-fluid sensuality that talked to the theory of joie de vivre, becoming Europe’s top performer.
Brigitte Bardot and Vadim divorced in 1957, but kept a professional relationship, as he directed her 1958 movie The Night Heaven Fell. Throughout the making of the 1960 movie La Verit, nevertheless, Bardot tried suicide on her 26th birthday. Decades after the performer would talk about how nightmarish the universe of celebrity had become as well as the pressures inherent in always planning to show a particular picture.
In the late 1950s, Bardot wed celebrity Jacques Charrier, by whom she had a son, her only child. The couple divorced in 1962. Bardot subsequently wed Germany millionaire playboy Gunter Sachs in 1966, divorcing three years after. Years after, in 1992, she wed extreme right-wing political aide Bernard d’Ormale.
During the 1960s, Bardot embarked on a job as a musical artist at the same time, releasing records like Brigitte Bardot Sings (1960) and Specific Bardot (1968). She also recorded hits with French vocalist/songwriter/sofa-guy Serge Gainsbourg.
Her big screen work continued with the likes of the layered, acclaimed Jean Luc Godard drama Contempt (1963), the hilarious, visually arresting Louis Malle movie Viva Maria! (1965)—in which she costarred with fellow French attractiveness Jeanne Moreau—and the romantic comedy of seduction Les Femmes (1969). Bardot’s beauty was further immortalized in the kind of well-known French sculpture Marianne, unveiled in 1970 and modeled after the performer.
Finally having appeared in tons of movies, Bardot retired in 1973 and went to live in St. Tropez.
Bardot turned from moviemaking to her love of creatures, and created the Foundation for the Protection of Distressed Animals in the mid-1970s. Her work has resulted in the Council of Europe prohibiting the importation of seal pelt as well as the French government prohibiting ivory imports. Bardot has also needed to appear before the French courts through the years, being fined over once for making anti-Muslim, discriminatory remarks.
Bardot’s standing as an international icon of attractiveness has continued to be celebrated with numerous art and style associations.