Anna Karina, 1960s French New Wave cinema star, dead at 79

Anna Karina, 1960s French New Wave cinema star, dead at 79
Anna Karina, the French New Wave actress who became an icon of the cinema during the 1960s, died Saturday. She was 79. (Mario Torrisi/Associated Press/Mario Torrisi/Associated Press)

PARIS — Actress Anna Karina, who became the symbol of the French New Wave in films during the 1960s, died Saturday in Paris. She was 79.

The Danish-born actress’ death was confirmed on Twitter by her agent, Laurent Balandra, who said the cause of death was cancer; and by Franck Riester, France’s culture minister, The New York Times reported.

Karina rose to stardom during the 1960s as an actress in the movies of director, Jean-Luc Godard, who was also her ex-husband, the BBC reported.

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Karina rejected a small role in Godard’s debut film in 1960, “Breathless,” because the role required nudity, the BBC reported. However, she starred in Godard’s second film, “The Little Soldier," a movie about terrorism during the French-Algerian war, and won best actress in 1961 at the Berlin International Film festival for Godard’s film, “A Woman is a Woman,” the Times reported.

Karina appeared in six more of Godard’s films, Rolling Stone reported.

Born Hanne Karin Bayer in Denmark in 1940, Karina was a model in Paris as a teenager, according to the magazine. It was one of her ads for Palmolive that caught the attention of Godard, whom she married in 1961, according to Rolling Stone.

Karina appeared in more than three dozen other films and made her directing debut in 1973 with “Vivre Ensemble,” the Times reported. She directed, wrote and starred in her last film, “Victoria,” in 2008, the newspaper reported.