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PINUP: Simone Simon.

No flower blooms EVERYWHERE, as French-born Simone Simon learned the hard way. Paris was fertile ground for her. Discovered at a cafe at age 20, she abandoned aspirations for a design career to take her chances on the French big screen. A few years on, America came calling.

After a few weeks of English lessons, Simon began filming in Hollywood. But due to her thick accent, weak singing voice, and some unfortunate misunderstandings, she was seen as difficult to cast and temperamental. She suffered several firings, but then shined in Girls' Dormitory (1936) as a student infatuated with her principal. Still, she went home, convinced Hollywood had failed her.

Simon returned to the States early in World War II and made a bigger splash this time. While catching the attention of British double agent Dusko Popov, the rumored inspiration for James Bond, she starred in Faust-inspired The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941) and Cat People (1942), the latter of which paid off with a sequel in 1944. Her last film in the States was Johnny Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1944), about a woman who rents an apartment from a marine who's off to war but whose friends keep coming around.

Back in France, Simon filled several landmark film roles. She withdrew almost entirely from the cinema in the mid-1950s, taking with her that indefinable quality that French critics loved but that didn't quite translate across the Atlantic.

Kaylee Schofield

editorial assistant

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Author:Schofield, Kaylee
Publication:America in WWII
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2019
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