Colette Marchand, Oscar Nominee for John Huston's 'Moulin Rouge,' Dies at 90

Colette Marchand Moulin Rouge - H 2015
Courtesy of Everett Collection

Colette Marchand Moulin Rouge - H 2015

The glamorous French ballerina came to fame as a performer for Roland Petit starting in the 1940s.

Colette Marchand, the French ballerina who earned a supporting actress Oscar nomination for playing a streetwalker in the 1952 John Huston film Moulin Rouge, has died. She was 90.

Marchand died June 5 at her home in Bois-le-Roi, France, her nephew told The New York Times.

Marchand, who came to fame in Roland Petit's ballets starting in the 1940s, portrayed the real-life model Marie Charlet, who torments love-sick French painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (played by best actor nominee Jose Ferrer), in Moulin Rouge.

She lost out at the Academy Awards to Gloria Grahame of the Hollywood-set drama The Bad and the Beautiful.

The alluring Marchand also appeared on film in the 1954 releases Hungarian Rhapsody, At the Order of the Czar and Romantic Youth, a short, impressionistic work in which she showcased her skills as a shop owner's mannequin that comes to life.

Nicknamed "Les Legs," the Paris native was sensational on Broadway in Petit ballets in 1949 and 1950 and in the 1951 Jule Styne musical revue Two on the Aisle, starring Dolores Gray and Bert Lahr.

She also starred in the 1953 Petit ballet The Lady in the Ice, which was conceived and directed by Orson Welles in his lone attempt at ballet.

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