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Danish-French actress Anna Karina has died aged 79

Karina died of cancer in a French hospital yesterday.

Anna Karina last year.
Anna Karina last year.
Image: Apaydin Alain/ABACA

DANISH-FRENCH ACTRESS Anna Karina, muse of New Wave film director Jean-Paul Godard, has died of cancer at the age of 79. 

Karina starred in seven films made by her ex-husband Godard, including Pierrot Le Fou. 

“Anna died yesterday in a Paris hospital of the effects of cancer,” her agent Laurent Balandras told AFP, adding that she passed away in the company of her fourth husband, American director Dennis Berry.

“Today, French cinema has been orphaned. It has lost one of its legends,” French Culture Minister Franck Riester tweeted.

Karina, who epitomised Sixties chic with her elfin features and khol-rimmed blue eyes, was still a teenager when she hitchhiked to Paris from her native Denmark to try to become an actress.

She developed a successful modelling career before being spotted by Godard while walking along the Champs-Elysees. 

They were already a couple when, at barely 21, she won best actress at the Berlin film festival for A Woman is a Woman in 1961.

“We loved each other a lot,” Karina told AFP in an interview in Paris in March last year.

“But it was complicated to live with him… He was someone who could say to you, ‘I am going to get some cigarettes’ and come back three weeks later.”

She worked behind the camera on Vivre ensemble, a romance between a history teacher and a free-spirited young woman that ends in drugs and domestic violence.

Karina also had some success as a singer, recording Sous Le Soleil Exactement with Serge Gainsbourg.

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