|Actress Jean Seberg reads the paper in bed during the filming of Bonjour Tristesse in France.
GUEST BLOG / By Frank Perrin from an interview published in Crash Magazine
Suicide? Via a "Hooverdose?"
Murder? An abusive live-in lover?
Conspiracy? She offended many governments.
What really happened to Jean Seberg, the film icon and activist found dead in her car on August 30, 1979?
|Jean Seberg in 1965
A mysterious end for a woman who led a life of passion, always in search of freedom, love and justice. Throughout her life, she crossed paths with filmmakers, lovers and allies, as well as enemies who cast a menacing shadow over her last days. Did someone want Jean Seberg to disappear?
Alain Mamou-Mani and Antoine Lassaigne seized on the phenomenon in their novel Kill Jean : Comment ils ont tué Jean Seberg, which blends fact and fiction to recount the tragic story of the most Parisian of American actresses.
Jean Seberg is a myth, an icon whom everyone has heard of, but no one knows. It’s this paradox that drew me immediately to the book. Her tragic destiny is riddled with mystery.
Antoine Lassaigne: Precisely. We included a short epigraph at the beginning of the book: There is no truth, there is only passion. When talking about Jean Seberg, there are at least 50 different truths. There are mostly passions. There are many possible versions of her life. People have written plenty of books without ever capturing the truth. It’s a story that emerges between the lines, telling of a person who is tragic, magic, impressive and untouchable.
Alain Mamou-Mani: Her third husband used to say, “If you want to understand Jean Seberg, most of the time she is Joan of Arc – her first film – and the rest of the time she is Lilith, the film she did with Robert Rossen and Warren Beatty where they are all locked up in an asylum”. It was always very interesting to observe this double nature, as Antoine was saying. She is hard to pin down because she had a Puritan and Lutheran upbringing… Her father was from Marshalltown, a small town in the Midwest. He owned the pharmacy in his town.
Interviewer Frank Perrin, Crash Magazine: In Iowa, right?
Antoine: It’s about the relationship between Seberg and the FBI. They were mortal enemies. It hasn’t come out yet?
|Death scene in Paris
Antoine: All the investigations were bungled. You get the impression that, in the end, it suited people just fine to see her disappear without anyone really looking into it. Because behind the scenes was the Algerian secret service, drug traffickers, the CIA and no telling who else. It’s like there is a strange nebula around her.
Antoine: He was already a father of six. She gave him a lot of money. Hoover was the FBI chief who hated Black people, Communists, revolutionaries and anyone who didn’t like cops. So he made Jane Fonda and Jean Seberg his sworn enemies. Jean was shooting a film in Mexico, dating Carlos Fuentes whom she cheated on with Carlos Navarro, a Mexican student leader with whom she became pregnant. After six months, when it became clear that she was in fact pregnant, Hoover leaked the information to the gossip column in the Los Angeles Times
Alain: An important element for your magazine is that she was a star on both sides of the Atlantic. It’s funny because there are so few iconic actresses like her from the New Wave, who also appeared in big commercial movies like Paint Your Wagon with Clint Eastwood or Airport. That’s how she earned her dual nationality and her dual influence as a binational heroine.