PARIS • Mireille Darc, a star of French cinema in the 1960s and 1970s who caused a sensation in a plunging backless gown in The Tall Blond Man With One Black Shoe (1972), died on Sunday night at age 79, her agent said.
She died at her home in Paris, surrounded by family and friends, including her former long-time companion Alain Delon - the one-time great love of her life, with whom she starred in six films, including Jeff (1969) and The Love Mates (1970).
French moviegoers were particularly fond of the willowy actress with the sleek blonde bob who battled ill health throughout her life.
A sex symbol in her heyday, she is forever associated with the highnecked, long-sleeved Guy Laroche dress that exposed her back and part of her bottom, leaving comedian Pierre Richard agape in Yves Robert's comedy, The Tall Blond Man With One Black Shoe.
She also starred in films including Georges Lautner's The Great Spy Chase (1964), Denys de La Patelliere's The Upper Hand (1966) and Jean-Luc Godard's Weekend (1967).
She mainly starred in television films from the 1990s.
Born Mireille Aigroz, she took the surname Darc in a nod to warriorsaint Joan of Arc when she started out as an actress, fighting for roles.
In later life, she slipped behind the camera to make documentaries on cancer, prostitution and homeless women, among other topics.
She was in a relationship with Delon for more than 10 years, said Variety website.
She is survived by her husband, architect Pascal Desprez.