Denise Grey, a theater and cinema star whose career spanned nine decades, died Saturday at her home in Paris. She was 99.
Grey retired just four years ago and through her recent roles came to personify the ideal grandmother to many French. But as a young woman she was a leading can-can dancer at the famous Parisian cabaret the Folies Bergeres.
Grey was born Edouardine Verthuy on Sept. 17, 1896, near Turin, Italy. Her family emigrated to Paris when she was a small child.
In 1913, at age 17, she performed in her first motion picture “Mademoiselle Etchika,” by Andre Hugon. Shortly afterward, she landed a job as an understudy at the Folies Bergeres and quickly became a star.
Grey became a hit in Paris theaters after World War I. During the Nazi occupation of France in World War II, she was hired by the Comedie Francaise, the prestigious network of state-sponsored theatrical troupes.