Brigitte Bardot

When God Created Woman he surely had this 1950s sex goddess in mind.

Brigitte Bardot's mother encouraged her, from a young age, to take up music and dance and, by age 15, she was modelling for Elle magazine.

Her talent and beauty secured her first acting part, at the age of 18, in Le Trou Normand (Crazy For Love), followed by two further films, after which she married her first love, writer/director Roger Vadim. The marriage lasted five years before the couple separated.

Due to her success in French films, she went on to star in her first American film, alongside Kirk Douglas, Un Acte D'Amour (An Act Of Love). This and subsequent films established her "sex-kitten" image.

Bardot continued to star in French films, which had to be dubbed into English to fulfil the American desire to see her on screen. Her roles exploited her type-cast image, which was reinforced by much-publicised off-screen romances.

Her many screen credits include Dear Brigitte, La Verite and Viva Maria before making her final film shortly before turning 40. The relentless paparazzi and media attention had worn her down, and she wanted refuge from the intense limelight.

Bardot has sought to take on other projects, such as becoming a spokesperson for animal rights. In 1986, she started Foundation Brigitte Bardot, a continuing focus over the past two decades.

Brigitte is married to a politician from a French extreme right party. She has a son, Nicholas Charrier.