- Film maker
More than 40 years ago Vadim earned instant fame and universal male envy when his 1956 sexually liberated movie And God Created Woman made its blonde, curvaceous, pouty, sex-kitten star, Brigitte Bardot, an international symbol of desire.
His famous leading ladies, on and off the screen, included Bardot, Catherine Deneuve and Jane Fonda. His films, always seemingly secondary to his romances, included Les Liaisons Dangereuses and Barbarella.
Although his films were often dubbed shocking, they were usually remarkable more for the beauty of the women in them than much else. "You wouldn't ask Rodin to make an ugly sculpture, or me to make a film with an ugly woman," Vadim once told Associated Press. "That's my style, that's my nature."
Aside from And God Created Woman, Vadim's other best-remembered film is Barbarella, the 1968 sexy sci-fi caper that earned cult status thanks to the strip-tease credits by a blonde, curvaceous, pouty, sex-kittenish Fonda, then his wife.
Critics preferred his take on Les Liaisons Dangereuses (1959), which set the classic tale of sexual intrigue in the cool world of contemporary jazz clubs and starred Jeanne Moreau and his then-wife, Danish starlet, blonde, curvaceous Stroyberg.
After coming to America in the 1960s, his work decidedly suffered. His 1971 film Pretty Maids All in a Row, a black comedy starring Rock Hudson as a guidance counselor in a high school where female students are being bumped off, was considered silly. His 1987 remake of And God Created Woman starring Rebecca De Mornay was downright panned. Despite the downturn in the quality of his output, Vadim worked steadily as a producer, director and writer in TV and film.
His most titillating effort in the later years was his autobiography, D'Une Etoile a l'Autre (From One Star to the Next). It described his marriages to Bardot and Fonda and was an apt title for his life.
Roger Vladimir Plemiannikov, of French-Russian heritage, was the son of a diplomat. He met Bardot when she was only 15 and married her in 1952 when she turned 18. She was the first of his five wives.
He is also survived by four children, including Fonda's daughter, Vanessa, and a son, Christian, born from his relationship with Deneuve.
Made debut as a stage actor at the age of 16. In 1947 became assistant to Marc Allegret, occasionally working on scripts, before getting his first credits as co-writer of two British films directed by Allegret.
Biography from Leonard Maltin's Movie Encyclopedia:
New Wave director at least as well known for his romantic liaisons with his female stars as for the films in which he directed them. A former stage actor and journalist, he burst upon the international cinema scene with the sexually charged And God Created Woman (1956), which catapulted his then-wife Brigitte Bardot to worldwide fame. His subsequent successes include Clair de lune (1958, with Bardot), Dangerous Liaisons (1960, with Jeanne Moreau), the "Pride" segment of The Seven Deadly Sins, Warriors Rest (both 1962, the latter with Bardot), Vice and Virtue (1963, with Catherine Deneuve), and Circle of Love (1964), with Jane Fonda. He enjoyed international notoriety when he directed second wife Fonda in the sexy sci-fi comic strip adaptation Barbarella (1968); they later collaborated on one segment of Spirits of the Dead (also 1968). He made an effective Hollywood debut with the sexy black comedy Pretty Maids All in a Row (1971), but it was to be his only American film of note. Later films include Don Juan '73 (1973), Charlotte(1974, aka La Jeune Fille assassinée Hot Touch (1982), Surprise Party (1983), and a lackluster 1987 remake of And God Created Woman with Rebecca De Mornay in the Bardot role. He also took small acting roles in Rich and Famous (1981) and Into the Night (1985).
He wrote a 1975 autobiography, "Memoirs of the Devil," and a 1987 memoir modestly titled "Bardot, Deneuve, Fonda: My Life With the Three Most Beautiful Women in the World."