Dany Saval

Dany Saval, originally uploaded by Truus, Bob & Jan too!.

Gorgeous French actress Dany Saval (1942) was the lithe and lovely leading lady in both fluffy comedies and thrillers of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s.

Dany Saval was born as Danielle Nadine Suzanne Savalle in 1942 in in a slum area of Paris, France. The Germans had just before released her father, a factory worker, from a prisoner-of-war camp. Dany started her career at 8, as a child-dancer. Later she became a Can-Can girl at the Moulin Rouge. Her first film appearance was a small part in L'eau vive/The Girl and the River (1958, François Villiers) starring Pascale Audret. The film, based on a screenplay by pacifist writer Jean Giono, won a Golden Globe as Best Foreign-Language Film in 1959. She then appeared in the French answer to Rebel Without A Cause, Les Tricheurs/The Cheaters (1958, Marcel Carné), as the fiancée of Pierre Brice. Les Tricheurs tells the story of disaffected Parisian youth who have lost their way in an atmosphere of existentialism, sexual liberation and disrespect for traditional and religious values. On the huge success of Les Tricheurs followed bigger roles in such films as Asphalte/Asphalt (1959, Hervé Bromberger) with Francoise Arnoul, La verte moisson/Green Harvest (1959, François Villiers) and the supernatural thriller Pleins feux sur l'assassin/Spotlight on a Murderer (1961, Georges Franju) starring Pierre Brasseur.

Suddenly one of Disney’s talent scouts saw Dany Saval on a magazine cover and after a screentest Walt Disney signed her to a six-film contract. In her first film, Moon Pilot (1962, James Neilson), she played a mysterious extraterrestrial opposite astronaut Tom Tryon. Hal Erickson of All Movie Guide likes the film: “Moon Pilot is an engaging Disney sci-fi comedy that manages to shoot off a few neat and surprisingly satirical barbs at the hypertense US/Russia ‘space race’ of the era.” On IMDB, reviewer San Diego comments: “Watch it for Dany Saval... (she) makes the film worth watching.” Despite these positive reviews, the film bombed and Dany Saval would make only one more American film. Today she is probably best known as one of the lovely airline stewardesses being shuffled around by Tony Curtis and Jerry Lewis in the slapstick comedy Boeing Boeing (1965, John Rich). IMDB reviewer Moonspinner55 writes: “Perky Dany Saval (as ‘Air France’) is the stand-out amongst the lovely ladies, none of whom gets an actual character to play.” In between she appeared in several fluffy French comedies opposite such comedians as Louis de Funès and Darry Cowl. She also appeared opposite Michele Morgan in the crime thriller Constance Aux Enfers/Web of Fear (1964, François Villiers). In 1965 she married distinguished composer Maurice Jarre, with whom she had a daughter, Stéfanie Jarre. She then retired temporarily from the screen to raise her child.

In 1970, Dany Saval made a come-back on TV in the popular comedy series Les saintes chéries/The Sweet Saints starring Micheline Presle. More TV work and films followed. She was the leading lady in the spaghetti western Si può fare... amigo/Saddle Tramps (1972, Maurizio Lucidi) starring Bud Spencer and Jack Palance. In the popular action comedy L’Animal/The Animal (1977, Claude Zidi), she appeared opposite Jean-Paul Belmondo and Raquel Welch. And she played a supporting part in the detective comedy Inspecteur la Bavure/Inspector Blunder (1980, Claude Zidi) starring Coluche and Gérard Dépardieu. Her last (TV) film was La baleine blanche/Children and the White Whale (1987, Jean Kerchbron). Then, Dany Saval retired from the film and entertainment business. She married three times. Her first marriage was with pr-man Roger Chaland in 1958. Her second marriage with Maurice Jarre ended in a divorce in 1967. Since 1973, she is married to host and journalist Michel Drucker, with whom she resides in Paris.

Sources: Lloyd Shearer (The Modesto Bee), Hal Erickson (All Movie Guide), Wikipedia, and IMDb.

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