Roger Vadim

Roger Vadim (French: [ʁɔ.ʒe va.dim]; 26 January 1928 – 11 February 2000) was a French screenwriter, film director and producer, as well as an author, artist and occasional actor.[2] His best-known works are visually lavish films with erotic qualities, such as And God Created Woman (1956), Barbarella (1968), and Pretty Maids All in a Row (1971).

Roger Vadim
Roger Vadim - still
Vadim in 1971
Roger Vadim Plemiannikov

26 January 1928
Died11 February 2000 (aged 72)
Paris, France
OccupationFilm director, screenwriter, producer
Years active1950–1997
Brigitte Bardot
(m. 1952; div. 1957)

Annette Stroyberg
(m. 1958; div. 1961)

Jane Fonda
(m. 1965; div. 1973)
Catherine Schneider
(m. 1975; div. 1977)

Partner(s)Catherine Deneuve (1961–64)
Ann Biderman (1980–87)
Children4, including Christian Vadim

Early life

Vadim was born Roger Vadim Plemiannikov (sometimes transliterated Plemiannikoff) in Paris. His father, Igor Nikolaevich Plemiannikov (И́горь Никола́евич Племя́нников), a White Russian military officer and pianist, had emigrated from Russia and became a naturalized French citizen, and was a vice consul of France to Egypt, stationed in Alexandria. His mother, Marie-Antoinette (née Ardilouze),[3] was a French actress.[4] Although Vadim lived as a diplomat's child in Northern Africa and the Middle East in his early youth,[5] the death of his father when Vadim was nine years old caused the family to return to France, where his mother found work running a hostel in the French Alps, which was functioning as a way-station for Jews and other fugitives fleeing Nazism.[4]

Vadim studied journalism and writing at the University of Paris, without graduating.[4]

Film career

At age 19, he became assistant to film director Marc Allégret, whom he met while working at the Theatre Sarah Bernhardt, and for whom he worked on several screenplays. He was an assistant director on Allegret's Blanche Fury (1948), a commercially unsuccessful melodrama which Allegret made for a British company in English.

Vadim was one of several writers on Allegret's French-British The Naked Heart (1950), aka Maria Chapdelaine, starring Michèle Morgan, as well as serving as assistant director. It was shot in French and English versions. Blackmailed (1951) was another film Allegret directed in England, starring Mai Zetterling and Dirk Bogarde; Vadim was credited as one of the writers. He was also one of several writers on Allegret's, La demoiselle et son revenant (1952).

Vadim did the screenplay and commentary for a documentary, Le gouffre de la Pierre Saint-Marti (1953) and was assistant director on Allegret's Julietta (1953), a popular romance with Jean Marais, Dany Robin and Jeanne Moreau. Vadim wrote Allegret's Loves of Three Queens (1954), with Hedy Lamarr.

Vadim had begun a relationship with model-actress Brigitte Bardot. She was given a good role in a drama directed by Allegret, School for Love (1953), aka Futures Vendettes, starring Jean Marais; Vadim wrote the script with Allegret. The film was a commercial disappointment.

However the next collaboration between Allegret, Bardot and Vadim, Plucking the Daisy (1956), aka Mam'selle Striptease, was a huge success at the French box office. So too was Naughty Girl (1956), with Bardot. This allowed Vadim to get backing for his first movie as director.

Vadim's first film as director was based on an original story of his, And God Created Woman (1956). Starring Bardot, Curt Jurgens and Christian Marquand, it was not only a major success in France, but around the world, and established Bardot as a world icon.

Vadim followed it with No Sun in Venice (1957) starring Françoise Arnoul and Marquand, which was considerably less popular than And God Created Woman. More popular was The Night Heaven Fell (1958), starring Bardot and Stephen Boyd. He was one of several writers on Allegret's popular comedy, Be Beautiful But Shut Up (1958), starring Mylène Demongeot.

Vadims's next film was an adaptation of the book Les liaisons dangereuses (1959), which he wrote and directed. It starred Moreau, Gérard Philipe (in his final film) and Annette Stroyberg, a Danish model who became Vadim's second wife. The film became a huge hit in France.

Stroyberg was also in the vampire film Blood and Roses (1960). They divorced shortly afterwards.

Vadim was reunited with Bardot for Please, Not Now! (1961), a popular comedy. He was one of several directors of the anthology film,The Seven Deadly Sins (1962).

Vadim began a relationship with a young Catherine Deneuve. She starred in a segment of the anthology film Tales of Paris (1962), which was written by Vadim and directed by Allegret. She starred in a film Vadim helped write and produce, And Satan Calls the Turns (1962), and was also Vice and Virtue (1963), which Vadim directed.

Vadim had another success writing and directing for Bardot, Love on a Pillow (1962), but found less favour with Nutty, Naughty Chateau (1963) starring Monica Vitti.

Roger Vadim and Jane Fonda (Rome, 1967)
Vadim and Fonda in 1967

Vadim tried another adaptation of a classic erotic text, La Ronde (1964). He said at the time, "When I make a picture about relations between people, something erotic comes through; I can't help it! But sex has been an inspiration, the greatest inspiration, since art exists."[6] One of the film's many stars was rising American actress Jane Fonda who began a romantic relationship with Vadim.

Vadim devised a vehicle for Fonda, The Game Is Over (1966), based on a book by Émile Zola. Shot in French and English versions, it was very popular in France, though less so in the US.

Dino de Laurentiis wanted Fonda to star in a science fiction sex comedy, Barbarella (1968) and she agreed provided Vadim could direct. Following this he directed Fonda in a segment of the omnibus horror film Spirits of the Dead (1968) along with her brother Peter Fonda.

During his marriage to Fonda, Vadim would accompany her back to the US periodically while she made movies there. He and Fonda broke up and Vadim directed Pretty Maids All in a Row (1971) for MGM, starring Rock Hudson and Angie Dickinson. It was a commercial disappointment.

Vadim returned to France. He wrote and directed Hellé (1972), starring Gwen Welles, which was a flop. He was reunited with Bardot for Don Juan, or If Don Juan Were a Woman (1973), which was Bardot's penultimate movie and a commercial disappointment.

Not particularly successful either were Charlotte (1974), and Game of Seduction (1976) with Sylvia Kristel and Nathalie Delon. He directed a TV movie Bonheur, impair et passe (1977), starring Danielle Darrieux.

In the 1980s Vadim based himself in the US. He directed Night Games (1980), where he attempted to make a star of Cindy Pickett, with whom he became romantically involved. He directed a caper film in Canada, The Hot Touch (1981), starring Marie-France Pisier. Back in France he wrote and directed Surprise Party (1983). He directed episodes of Faerie Tale Theatre (1984) and Deadly Nightmares (1986).

Vadim attempted to recapture his former success with a new version of And God Created Woman (1988), with Rebecca de Mornay. Very different from the original – it only really used the same title – it failed critically and commercially.

His final years were spent working in TV, where he directed Safari (1991) and wrote and directed Amour fou (1993), starring Marie-Christine Barrault who became his final wife. She was also in directed La Nouvelle tribu (1996) and its sequel Un coup de baguette magique (1997), which Vadim wrote and directed.

Personal life


Vadim was famous for his romances/marriages to beautiful actresses.[7] In his mid-30s, he lived with the teenaged Catherine Deneuve, by whom he had a child, Christian Vadim, prior to his marriage to Fonda.[8] He was also involved with American actress Cindy Pickett.[9] Later, he cohabited with screenwriter Ann Biderman for several years, announcing their engagement in 1984,[10] but the couple never wed.[8]

He told a story about how he lost his virginity at age 16 when he spent the summer in Normandy. An older girl took a fancy to him. Outdoors that night, she introduced him to the art of love and what amazed him most was that what Hemingway had written came true: "the earth moved under him." Not until somewhat later did he realize that Allied ships were bombarding the coast in preparation for the D-Day invasion.


  • Brigitte Bardot, 20 December 1952 – 6 December 1957 (divorced)
  • Annette Stroyberg, 17 June 1958 – 14 March 1961 (divorced); 1 daughter (Nathalie)
  • Jane Fonda, 14 August 1965 – 16 January 1973 (divorced); 1 daughter (Vanessa)
  • Catherine Schneider, 13 December 1975 – 10 June 1977 (divorced); 1 son (Vania)
  • Ann Biderman, Partner (engaged but never wed), California
  • Marie-Christine Barrault, 21 December 1990 – 11 February 2000 (his death)

He also had two stepsons from his marriage to Schneider (heiress to the Schneider-Creusot steel and armaments firm) as well as adult stepchildren from Barrault's first marriage to Daniel Toscan du Plantier, also a friend of Vadim's, who called him "a happy man. He was someone in whom there was so much satisfaction to the end of his life. The films merely reflected his happiness."[8] Nathalie, his eldest child, told Fonda biographer Patricia Bosworth: "Jane was the love of my father's life."[11]


In addition to Vadim's theatre and film work, he also wrote several books, including the memoirs "Memoires du Diable", "Le Gout du Bonheur: Souvenirs 1940–1958" and an autobiography, D'une étoile à l'autre (From One Star to the Next) as well as a tell-all about his most famous exes, Bardot, Deneuve & Fonda: My Life with the Three Most Beautiful Women in the World, published in 1986.[12] "My attitude is that if this book makes me a little money it will be a tiny compensation for all the money I helped those actresses make", Vadim explained.[13] He also wrote several plays and books of fiction, including L'Ange Affame.


Vadim died of cancer at age 72 on 11 February 2000. Ex-wives Bardot, Fonda, Schneider and Stroyberg were all in attendance at his funeral.[14] He is interred at St. Tropez Cemetery.


Writer or director



  1. ^ Jess Cagle (1991-12-20). "Jane Fonda's and Tom Hayden's romance". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2018-12-16.
  2. ^ "ROGER VADIM writes his "Memoirs of the Devil"". The Australian Women's Weekly. 12 January 1977. p. 26. Retrieved 3 January 2015 – via National Library of Australia.
  3. ^ "Roger Vadim profile at". Retrieved 18 December 2012.
  4. ^ a b c "Biography for Roger Vadim". TCM. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
  5. ^ Patricia Bosworth (2011-08-15). "Jane Fonda: The She Decade". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 2018-12-16.
  6. ^ Vadim Is Frank On, Off Screen Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 20 July 1965: C8.
  7. ^ "Roger Vadim is no braggart about his love life". Beaver County Times. 11 July 1975. Retrieved 18 December 2012.
  8. ^ a b c Smith, Kyle (28 February 2000). "Sweet Svengali". People. Retrieved 30 July 2015.
  9. ^ (24 March 1981). Cindy Has Her Own Guy Now. The Milwaukee Sentinel.
  10. ^ Tipoff. Star-News. 15 January 1984.
  11. ^ Bosworth, Patricia (2011). Jane Fonda: The Private Life of a Public Woman. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 237. ISBN 0-547-50447-0.
  12. ^ Pulleine, Tim (11 February 2000). Film director with a lifelong penchant for beautiful blondes and glossy, erotic movies. The Guardian.
  13. ^ Vadim candid about reasoning behind book. Daily News. 30 March 1986.
  14. ^ Fonda, Jane (2005). My Life So Far. New York: Random House.
  15. ^ "Sait-on jamais... (1957) – Full cast and crew". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 15 March 2009.

External links

Barbarella (film)

Barbarella is a 1968 science fiction film directed by Roger Vadim, based on the comic series of the same name by Jean-Claude Forest. The film stars Jane Fonda as Barbarella, a space-traveler and representative of the United Earth government sent to find scientist Durand Durand, who has created a weapon that could destroy humanity.

As a director who expressed an interest in comics and science fiction, Vadim was hired to direct Barbarella after producer Dino De Laurentiis purchased the film rights to the comic series. Vadim attempted to cast several actors in the title role (including Virna Lisi, Brigitte Bardot, and Sophia Loren) before choosing his then-wife, Fonda. A friend of Vadim's, Terry Southern, wrote the initial screenplay, which changed considerably during filming and led to seven other writers credited in the final release, including Vadim and Forest. The film began shooting immediately following the completion of another De Laurentiis comic adaptation, Danger: Diabolik, with both films sharing several cast and crew members.

The film was particularly popular in the United Kingdom, where it was the year's second-highest-grossing film. Contemporary film critics praised Barbarella's visuals and cinematography, but found its storyline weak after the first few scenes. Although several attempts at sequels, remakes, and other adaptations have been planned, none has entered production.

Blood and Roses

Blood and Roses (French: Et mourir de plaisir, lit. 'And die of pleasure') is a horror film directed by Roger Vadim. It is based on the novella Carmilla (1872) by Irish writer Sheridan Le Fanu, shifting the book's setting in 19th-century Styria to the film's 20th-century Italy.

Charlotte (1974 film)

Charlotte or The Murdered Young Girl (French: La jeune fille assassinée) is a 1974 crime thriller film directed by Roger Vadim. It stars Sirpa Lane, Michel Duchaussoy, and Mathieu Carrière. The film is about a nymphomaniac.

Don Juan, or If Don Juan Were a Woman

Don Juan, or If Don Juan Were a Woman (French: Don Juan ou Si Don Juan était une femme...) is a 1973 French-Italian drama film by Roger Vadim. It sees Vadim reunite with his leading lady and ex-wife Brigitte Bardot for their fifth film together. Bardot achieved international stardom and Vadim got his break when he directed her in the 1956 sensation, And God Created Woman. It was her second to last film before retiring.

Game of Seduction

Game of Seduction (French: Une femme fidèle) is a French drama directed by Roger Vadim.

Hellé (film)

Helle is a 1972 French film directed by Roger Vadim.

The film recorded admissions of 345,984 in France.

Les Liaisons dangereuses (film)

Les Liaisons dangereuses (Dangerous Liaisons) is a 1959 French-language film, loosely based on the 1782 novel by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos, though is set in present-day France.

It was directed by Roger Vadim, and stars Jeanne Moreau, Gerard Phillipe, and Annette Vadim. It was a French/Italian co-production.

Love on a Pillow

Love on a Pillow is a 1962 French film starring Brigitte Bardot and directed by Roger Vadim.

It was known in France as Le repos du guerrier.

No Sun in Venice

No Sun in Venice (French: Sait-on jamais...) is a 1957 French-Italian drama film directed by Roger Vadim. It was entered into the 7th Berlin International Film Festival. The soundtrack for the film was composed by pianist John Lewis, and performed by the Modern Jazz Quartet. The soundtrack album was released in 1957 on Atlantic.

Nutty, Naughty Chateau

Nutty, Naughty Chateau (French: Château en Suède, Italian: Il castello in Svezia) is a 1963 French-Italian comedy film directed by Roger Vadim starring Monica Vitti.

Please, Not Now!

Please, Not Now! (original French title La Bride sur le cou, is a French comedy film released in 1961, directed by Roger Vadim and starring his former wife, Brigitte Bardot.

Pretty Maids All in a Row

Pretty Maids All in a Row is a 1971 American mystery film that is part dark comedy, part murder mystery. Starring Rock Hudson alongside Angie Dickinson, it was released on April 28, 1971. Roger Vadim directed the film, which Gene Roddenberry produced, having dramatized a 1968 novel written by Francis Pollini into the screenplay from which Vadim worked. This was Roddenberry's only feature film writing credit.

Spirits of the Dead

Spirits of the Dead (Italian: Tre passi nel delirio, French: Histoires extraordinaires) is a 1968 "omnibus" film comprising three segments. The French title Histoires extraordinaires (translated to English as Extraordinary Stories) is from the first collection of Edgar Allan Poe's short stories translated by French poet Charles Baudelaire; the English title Spirits of the Dead is from an 1827 poem by Poe.

American International Pictures distributed this horror anthology film featuring three Poe stories directed by European directors Roger Vadim, Louis Malle and Federico Fellini. Jane Fonda, Alain Delon, Peter Fonda, Brigitte Bardot, and Terence Stamp are among the stars. The English-language version features narration by Vincent Price.

Surprise Party (film)

Surprise Party is a 1983 French comedy-drama film directed by Roger Vadim.

The Game Is Over

The Game Is Over (original title La Curée, "The Kill") is a 1966 French-Italian French language drama film directed by Roger Vadim and starring Jane Fonda, Michel Piccoli and Peter McEnery. The film is a modern-day adaptation of the 1871-72 novel La Curée by Émile Zola.

The Hot Touch

The Hot Touch (also credited as Hot Touch) is a 1981 film directed by Roger Vadim.

This caper film is set in the world of art forgery. An accomplished art forger and a businessman have for many years been successful in a company which authenticates paintings before they are auctioned. They are discovered by an art dealer and blackmailed into forging paintings which disappeared in the Second World War. Procedural detail around the act of forgery is exploited for high-rolling glamour.The Hot Touch was the final film appearance of veteran Academy Award winning actor Melvyn Douglas.

The Night Heaven Fell

The Night Heaven Fell (Les bijoutiers du claire de lune) is an Eastmancolor 1958 French-Italian film directed by Roger Vadim. Vadim had already acquired international fame with his daring debut And God Created Woman (1956). Like its predecessor, The Night Heaven Fell explored the exuberant sensuality of Brigitte Bardot, who was Vadim's wife at the time.

The Seven Deadly Sins (1962 film)

Les Sept péchés capitaux is a 1962 French film composed of seven different segments, one for each of the seven deadly sins, each being by different directors and featuring different casts. At the time it served as a showcase for rising directors and stars, many of whom achieved later fame.

Vice and Virtue

Vice and Virtue (original French title: Le Vice et la Vertu) is a 1963 French film set in World War II starring Annie Girardot as Juliette (Vice), Robert Hossein as the sadistic German officer and Catherine Deneuve, in her first notable film role, as Justine (Virtue).

It was directed by Roger Vadim and inspired by some of Marquis de Sade's characters.

Films directed by Roger Vadim

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