Los Angeles: Madeleine LeBeau, who played Humphrey Bogart’s jilted mistress Yvonne in ‘Casablanca’ died on May 1 in Spain after breaking her thigh bone. She was 92. LeBeau was the last surviving credited cast member of the classic film. Her stepson Carlo Alberto Pinelli confirmed her death to Variety.
In ‘Casablanca’, LeBeau gets teary-eyed when ‘La Marseillaise’ is played and shouts ‘Viva la France!’. She was among several cast members who were actually refugees from the German occupation.
Her life echoed the film. After she made her screen debut in French film ‘Girls in Distress’ in 1939, LeBeau and her husband, actor Marcel Dalio, fled Paris for Portugal. They were said to have received transit visas that allowed them to enter Spain and then Portugal before continuing on towards Chile. They were stranded in Mexico when their visas turned out to be forgeries and were able to enter the United States with temporary Canadian passports.
She soon found work in Hollywood and appeared in Olivia de Havilland starrer ‘Hold Back the Dawn’ and ‘Gentleman Jim,’ starring Errol Flynn, before being cast in ‘Casablanca.’ Her husband, who played Emil the croupier in ‘Casablanca,’ filed for divorce during the production.
She starred in ‘Paris After Dark’ and ‘Music for Millions’ in Hollywood before returning to France after WWII. Among her European films were ‘The Royalists,’ ‘Cage of Gold,’ ‘Une Parisienne’ and Federico Fellinis ‘8 1/2,’ as Madeleine, the French actress.
She appeared in the French TV series ‘Allo Police’ before retiring from the screen in 1970. She later married Italian screenwriter Tullio Pinelli, co-writer of ‘8 1/2’ and ‘La Dolce Vita,’ who died in 2009.