Anna Karina, an actress known for her work in revolutionary French New Wave films, died of cancer Saturday at the age of 79.
France's Minister of Culture Franck Riester tweeted that Karina, who starred in many of Jean Luc Godard’s 1960s films, radiated on screen and that her work magnetized the world.
"Today, French cinema is an orphan. It lost one of its legends," he said.
Karina was born Hanne Karin Blarke Bayer in Denmark and moved to Paris at the age of 18 where she modeled for Coco Chanel and Pierre Cardin. Karina in 1961 married Godard, the director who cast her in beloved films such as "Alphaville" and "Bande à Part."
The couple eventually divorced in 1965, but Karina went on to become one of the faces of the New Wave. She told the Guardian in 2016 that their relationship was plagued by its ups and downs, but in the end she was honored to be considered Godard's muse.
"Because Jean-Luc gave me a gift to play all of those parts. It was like Pygmalion, you know?" Karina told the Guardian. "I was Eliza Doolittle and he was the teacher."
Karina worked with other great directors, including Lucchino Visconti, Jacques Rivette and Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and had leading roles in some major English-language productions in the late 1960s and early 1980s.
She also worked behind the camera, directing "Vivre Ensemble'' in 1973, and had a singing career, recording "Sous Le Soleil Exactement" by Serge Gainsbourg.