Michèle Mercier is born in Nice (France) on January 1st 1939 as the oldest daughter of a French father and an Italian mother, she is named Jocelyne Yvonne Renée.
She studies dancing and at 8 years she becomes a 'petit rat' at the 'Opera de Nice'. At 15 she plays a small part in "J'avais 7 filles" a movie with Maurice Chevalier, who predicts her a successful career. He is right, but it won't be at dancing.
At seventeen, she goes to Paris, to study dance with the company Ballets de la tour Eiffel under the direction of Roland Petit. At the same time she follows drama classes with Solange Sicard. After a stay in London, she has her debut in the theatre.
When she goes to her parents for a holiday, she meets Denis de La Patellière, who is filming "Retour de manivelle" (1957) in Nice. He gives her a role as the chambermaid Jeanne in this film. Before the film releases she changes her first name into Michèle in honour of her great opposite Michèle Morgan.
Léonide Moguy notices her and offers her the leading part in his film "Donnez-moi ma chance" (1958). Robert Lamoureux makes her the star of "La brune que voilà" (In the theatre (1958) en on screen (1960). In 1959 she is asked to come to Hollywood but she quickly returns to Europe and becomes a big star in Italy. She plays a part in "Mademoiselle Ange" (1959) directed by Géza von Radványi co-starring Romy Schneider and Henri Vidal. In "Les nuits de Lucrèce Borgia"(1959) by Serge Grieco. In "Tirez sur le pianist" (1960) directed by François Truffaut she plays the part of a prostitute next to Charles Aznavour. She continues her career in France, Italy and sometimes in England. She stars in two Mario Brava films: "Les 1001 nuits" (1961) and "Les trois visages de la peur" (1963, sketch the telephone). She plays in "Aimez-vous Brahms" (1961) by Anatole Litvak, starring Ingrid Bergman, Anthony Hopkins and Yves Montand, Luigi Zampas "Les années rugissantes"(1962), Mario Monicellis "Haute Infidélité" (1963), (sketch "Des gens modernes"), Jacques Derays "Symphonie pour un massacre" (1963) and Jean Pierre Melvilles "Laine des Ferchaux" (1963) with Jean-Paul Belmondo. She also appears in a sketch in "The Monsters" (1963) by Dino Risi.
She meets André Smaghe, a young cineaste, and they marry in 1961. Because he reminds her of William Holden she calls him William. He becomes an alcoholic with mental problems and is interned in a hospital. Because he is interned in a hospital Michèle can't divorce him. Finally, after she has paid him a great sum of money, she can divorce him.
At the same time she is playing the role of her live as "Angélique", a role a lot of actresses dream about. She tells: 'at the moment I opened those ang_books and started reading I knew that Angélique was me and I was her'. The movies became a great succes. But unfortunately this beautiful role would become like a gilded prison to her, it meant the downfall of her career, she would never get lose from "Angélique" and to this day people still identify her with "Angélique". Her career has reached a dead point.
Tired of playing the role of "Angélique" she accepts a diversity of roles in "Le tonnere de Dieu" (1965 with Jean Gabin) by Denys de La Patellière and "La seconde vérité" (1966 with Robert Hossein) by Christian-Jaque. In the meantime she marries her second husband 'Claude Bourillot'. In 1969 she plays in "Une veuve en or" by Michel Audiard. "Les Baroudeurs" (1970, with Tony Curtis and Charles Bronson) by Peter Collinson, "Macédoine" (1971) by Jacques Scandelari.Tired of the fact that everybody only sees her as Angélique, they decide to go to the States where she wants to become a Producer. She stays in Hollywood from 1973 to 1976. But unfortenately things don't work out, she finds out that her husband isn't truthful, her marriage breaks up and she returns to France.
Alone, forgotten and ruined she returns to Paris and rejoins the theatre. Then in Genova she meets a young businessman with two children. They fall in love and she decides to leave the cinema to raise his children. For two years they are very happy but faith is cruel, he dies of cancer. Because they are not married she is once again ruined. After some time she meets a Roman prince who is in love with her ever since he saw her in "Angélique". She goes to live with him in Rome but after three years she finds that his love for her is gone and she decides to go back to Paris. In 1987 she publishes her autobiography "Angélique a cur perdu", prefaced by Roger Peyrefitte. She starts a publishing house and in 1995 "Merveilleuse Angélique" a photobook is published. At the end of 1996 her second autobiography is released "Angéliquement Votre". Unfortunately her business associate stole from her and she ends up with a large debt.
After being away for a long time, she decides to return to the cinema. In 1998 she played a part in "La Rumbera" by Piero Vivarelli, turned in Cuba and Italy.
She has now returned to the area she was born, she lives in Cannes. In may 2002 her new autobiography "je ne suis pas Angélique" (I am not Angélique) is published. She hopes for new proposals, I was lucky when I was younger, now I have got more to offer. I want and need to show that on screen, says Michèle Mercier. In 2003 she plays the part of Noemi in the Italian series "Il Bello delle Donna 3".
In march 2006 she was decorated with the french order of "Chevalier dans l'Ordre national des Arts et lettres". The order was given to her by the Minister of the Culture Renaud Donnedieu of Vabres . In his speech he revert to her "immense popular success" in the mythical series "Angélique". The actress has personified a "liberated woman, sensual and strong".
A synopsis from Michèle Mercier's biographies: