Fun Facts Friday: Jean Cocteau

Jean Cocteau (05 July, 1889 – 11 October, 1963) was a French playwright, novelist, poet and filmmaker. He is known for such novels as his novels Le Grand Écart  and the 1946 classic move Beauty and the Beast.

Books by Jean Cocteau*
Amedeo Modigliani, Jean Cocteau, 1916, Henry and Rose Pearlman Collection,
on long-term loan to the Princeton University Art Museum
Books by Jean Cocteau*

  1. He was born as Jean Maurice Eugène Clément Cocteau near Paris, in a town called in Maisons-Laffitte, Yvelines.
  2. At age nine, his father who was a lawyer committed suicide.
  3. During World War I, Mr. Cocteau served in the Red Cross as an ambulance driver.
  4. As a young man, Mr. Cocteau got to know many artist including Pablo Picasso, Marcel Proust, Édith Piaf, Marlene Dietrich, and Coco Chanel . He later collaborated with several of them.
  5. There are 21 stage performances credited to Mr. Cocteau, included several ballets. He also wrote five novels, and directed 11 movies.
  6.  In 1955, Mr. Cocteau became a member of The Royal Academy of Belgium and the Académie Française.  Later years, he was also later made a Commander of the Légion d’honneur.
  7.  Mr. Cocteau was an off and on opium addict.
  8. Politically, Mr. Cocteau leaned to the right, and even accused France of disrespect towards Hitler. After World War II he was arraigned on charges of collaboration, but was cleared of any wrongdoings. As it turned out, he had used his contacts save friends from the Nazis.
  9. Mr. Cocteau died of a heart attack at 74, a day after his dear friend, Édith Piaf passed away.
  10. The epitaph on Mr. Cocteau’s gravestone set in the floor of the Chapelle Saint-Blaise des Simples in Milly-la-Forêt reads: “I stay with you” (“Je reste avec vous”).

Books by Jean Cocteau*

Zohar — Man of la Book
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account

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