A glorious blonde beauty in her youth who hurled herself into old age after husband Yves Montand's much publicized affair with Marilyn Monroe, Simone Signoret was both French icon and international star. Although she is best known for her roles in such films as La Ronde, Diabolique, and Casque d'Or, Signoret played out her riveting life in many arenas. She was famous for being a movie star, she was famous for being a political activist and she was famous for being the wife of Yves Montand. This unflinching, captivating biography shows Signoret as a personally and professionally complex woman who was gutsy and uncompromising in her commitments. Tough, self-deprecating, funny and articulate, Signoret was an actress whose star quality was based not on sex appeal like that of rival Monroe but on her extraordinary ability to communicate passion. As her beauty began to wane, she compensated by throwing herself into her intellectual life - she held salons, wrote books and stepped up her political activities. Even her Academy Award, for Room at the Top, was a political statement. By giving the award to this subversive French woman with ties to the French Communist Party, the academy was advertising its joy at the return of free expression after the chill of the McCarthy years. Signoret was loved by millions as much for her commanding character as for her great talent. When she died of cancer in 1985, at the age of sixty-four, thousands of mourners, ordinary people as well as French actors, writers and politicians, attended her funeral in Paris.