Childhood & Early Life
Maïténa Marie Brigitte Douménach was born to Jean Douménach and Marie-Louise Saint Guily, on October 5, 1939, in the Soulac-sur-Mer commune of the Médoc region, France. Jean and Marie were blessed with another younger daughter, Alexandra.
The young girl's father was taken into custody by German officials, when the World War II was being fought, and the rest of the Douménach family had to fend for themselves. The struggles they went through caused the little girl to become psychologically scarred.
Initially the family took refuge at a place known as Cahors, but after 1945, when Jean was released, they settled down in the capital city, Paris. It was here that Marie attended the 'Lycee La Fontaine' to pursue her secondary education, and she also developed an interest for drama and performing arts.
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Marie began her singing career when she contested in 1959, instead of her sister at the 'Naissance d'une étoile', a French talent hunt for the radio. She won the contest and was immediately noticed, not just by the music industry, but also by famous French filmmakers.
She adopted the stage last name of Laforêt, and was supposed to debut in 'Liberté', a movie by filmmaker Louis Malle, which was shelved eventually. She was subsequently launched in 1960 in the film, 'Plein Soleil', alongside Alain Delon.
In 1961, she appeared in filmmaker, Jean-Gabriel Albicocco's movie, 'La Fille aux Yeux d'Or' ('The Girl with the Golden Eyes'). The next year, she starred in two more movies, 'Rat Trap' and 'Leviathan', directed by Jean-Gabriel Albicocco and Léonard Keigel, respectively.
In the year 1963, Laforêt produced several hit singles including 'Tu fais semblant – Les vendanges de l'amour', and 'Au coeur de l'automne – L'amour en fleurs/ Qu'est-ce qui fait pleurer les filles – Mais si loin de moi'. She also sang a cover of Bob Dylan's 'Blowin' in the Wind' and an American ballad, 'House of the Rising Sun'.
The following year, this talented artiste acted in the Édouard Molinaro film, 'Male Hunt'. The same year, she released beautiful tracks like 'Viens sur la montagne', 'Les noces de campagne', and 'Après toi qui sait', amongst several others.
In 1965, Marie appeared in the movies, Cent briques et des tuiles, Marie-Chantal contre le docteur Kha, and The Camp Followers. The same year, her singles, 'Entre toi et moi', 'Ah ! Dites, dites', and 'À demain my darling' were released.
The next year, apart from hit original singles like 'Prenons le temps', and 'Mon amour, mon ami', Laforêt also remade the Simon and Garfunkel sell-out, 'The Sound of Silence' into 'La voix du silence'. Around the same time, she also did a cover of 'Paint It Black', sung by the band 'Rolling Stones'.
From 1967-69, she acted in successful films like Roger Boussinot's 'Le Treizième Caprice', and the 'MGM' production, 'Jack of Diamonds', directed by Don Taylor. This brilliant performer was also at the top of her career, belting out tracks like, 'Feuilles d'or', 'Toi, nos enfants et moi', 'Pour une étoile', amongst many more.
Towards the end of the decade, Laforêt had gained immense popularity, with her songs belonging to a completely unique genre, characterized by intense emotions.
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However, her music label, the 'CBS Records' forced her to produce more commercial tracks, because of which she soon gave up her bright career, and settled down in Switzerland. In Switzerland, she began dealing in art, establishing her own gallery, and making a name for herself in a new profession.
During 1973-79, Marie delivered the hits, 'Viens, viens', adapted from Simon Butterfly's German track, 'Rain, Rain, Rain', as well as the single, 'Il a neigé sur yesterday'. She was also cast in the crime thriller, 'Cop or Hood', made by Georges Lautner.
In the 1980s, Laforêt was seen in several commercially successful Italian and French movies including, 'Les Diplômés du dernier rang', 'Le Pactole', 'Fucking Fernand', and 'Happy Easter'.
In 1993, she released her last record, 'Reconnaissances', for which she turned songwriter, working in collaboration with writer Jean-Marie Leau. The album included hit singles like 'Jérusalem, Yerushalayim', 'Déjà Vu', and 'Zistoires D'Amours', amongst others.
During the same period she also appeared in films like 'Dis-moi oui', 'Héroïnes', and 'Tykho Moon'. In the 2000s, she travelled for a long-awaited national tour, across France, performing live in concerts. She also acted in the movie 'LesBureaux de Dieu', directed by Claire Simon, towards the end of the decade.
Personal Life & Legacy
Laforêt has married five times, first with her colleague, filmmaker, Jean-Gabriel Albicocco, in 1961. Thereafter, was married to businessman, Judas Azuelos, with who she had two children. Of them, her daughter Lisa Azuelos is a French filmmaker and producer.
In 1971, she got married to Alain Kahn-Sriber, an art dealer, with who she had a third child. Subsequently, she was wedded to a man named Pierre Meyer, and later, Eric De Lavandeyra, stockbroker, both marriages being short-lived.