Sunday, May 15, 2016

To Absent Friends - Madeleine LeBeau

Madeleine LeBeau
1923 - 2016

Little known French actress Madeleine LeBeau died earlier this month at the age of 92.  This is notable because Miss LeBeau was the last surviving credited cast member of the all-time great movie, "Casablanca" (1942).  Miss LeBeau played Yvonne, the jilted lover (perhaps one of many) of cynical cafe owner Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart).  What she meant to Blaine is best explained in this memorable bit of dialogue:

Yvonne: Where were you last night?

Rick: That was so long ago, I don't remember.

Yvonne: Will I see you tonight?

Rick: I never make plans that far ahead.

Yvonne is also featured in one of "Casablanca's" most memorable scenes: Singing the Marseillaise with tears in her eyes (see above) when Victor Laszlo leads the cafe orchestra to drown out the Nazi soldiers singing German patriotic songs.

The story of LeBeau and her husband fleeing Europe in the wake of Nazi invaders is a tale right out of "Casablanca" itself.  She eventually made it to Hollywood, had a few minor roles but never became a major player.  She did some movies in Europe, most notably in Fellini's "8 and 1/2" in 1960, and was pretty much done as an actress by the late 1960's.  However, her one small role as Yvonne in what is considered one of the greatest movies ever made has assured her a piece of movie immortality, and as the last survivor of the movie, she will forever be an answer to a movie trivia question.

RIP Madeleine LeBeau.

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