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Brigitte Bardot: Beauty and her beasts – Daily Express

Brigitte Bardot Article

Brigitte Bardot: Beauty and her beasts – Daily Express

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The sex-kitten announced she was abandoning acting to devote the rest of her life to caring for animals. In contrast the nude Playboy spread, which appeared at about the same time in 1973, raised barely an eyebrow. “My soul is not my own any more,” she complained. “I cannot live like I want to. I am going to give up films.” Bardot insisted it was not a snap decision or cheap publicity stunt. Her interest in animals dated back to the early Sixties when she became appalled by methods used to slaughter livestock without stunning them first. Now the French star has again caused consternation in her homeland by campaigning to save a vicious bull terrier which ripped open the face of a four-year old girl. She is demanding a pardon for the dog Prince, which is being held in a kennel prior to being destroyed. The animal has been nicknamed the Beast of Boulogne, where the attack happened last month. “We have abolished the death penalty for humans so why should it continue for animals? The dog should be held in prison for life rather than be put down,” says 76-year-old Bardot. It is a comment entirely in keeping with a woman who has led two very distinct lives – the film star and the animal rights campaigner Almost four decades ago there was initially scepticism that Bardot would turn her back on an industry which had made her a millionaire and lusted after by men the world over. True to her word she began crusading tirelessly against bull-fighting and hunting and opened her home to abandoned zoo animals, including 20 Czech wolves. She is said to have given away much of her fortune to animal charities, including a foundation in her own name. “The woman who made those movies, that’s not me. She’s someone else,” Bardot once said. “I have nothing to do with her or that entire period of her life. My life today is only about animals. Nothing that came before is me.” The actress said her work for animals was “the most wonderful success of my life”. The Brigitte Bardot Foundation runs a sanctuary, the Mare Auzou in Normandy, for 150 rescued dogs, 200 cats and various sheep, ponies and cows. A house in the Paris suburbs has also been converted into a menagerie for assorted strays. Launched in 1986 the organisation, with more than 30 staff and 300 animal inspectors, has its headquarters in the capital although Bardot spends most of her time surrounded by animals at her home in Saint Tropez. In 1987 she auctioned many of her possessions, including jewellery, dresses and furniture, to raise funds. Much of her campaigning work has been against the seal fur trade. Now Bardot often uses her birthday as a vehicle for her animal rights campaigns. When she turned 73 she released a statement saying her best present was the announcement that France was banning products made from seals. Two years later she sent a bizarre message to Sophia Loren, who shares the same anniversary. Congratulating her “wonderful twin” on reaching the landmark, Bardot went on to urge the Italian actress to stop wearing fur. When Bardot revealed she was devoting herself to animals there were rumours she’d suffered some sort of breakdown. The truth is that she was never comfortable with her pin-up role or the whole movie industry, which she found superficial. BARDOT hated the obsession with her looks and the woman who could have her pick of the men who threw themselves at her feet found being an object of desire suffocating. At the peak of her career she said: “I am really not interested in the cinema. I loathed it when I started and I don’t enjoy it even now.” Born in Paris on September 28, 1934, Bardot was an aspiring ballet dancer but got her breakthrough when she was featured on the cover of Elle magazine when just 16. Young film director Roger Vadim was captivated and hawked her round the film studios, determined to make her a star. Between 1952 and 1956 she appeared in 17 films, often in various states of undress. But her career took off with And God Created Woman, directed by Vadim, by then her husband. The film about an immoral teenager in a small town was an international sensation, pushing sexual boundaries and making Bardot France’s answer to Marilyn Monroe. She was to marry four times and there were reported affairs with musicians Serge Gainsbourg and Sacha Distel. In interviews she spoke candidly about her many infidelities and her lovers brawled outside Paris nightclubs. She never found enduring happiness and is reported to have made several suicide attempts, including once slashing her wrists. It’s claimed that only in her beloved animals did she discover the trust and devotion that eluded her in relationships with humans. A friend says: “She is happiest with her animals. She spends her time walking to exercise the dogs. The sad fact is that she doesn’t really trust humans. In some ways Brigitte was treated as a performing animal herself during her film career so it’s perhaps no wonder she identifies more with cats and dogs.” “Nobody has any security in loving me,” Bardot once confided. That apparently included her own child. In 1960 she had a son Nicolas with her second husband, actor Jacques Charrier, but gave the boy up when they divorced after two years. “I’m not made to be a mother,” Bardot said. “I don’t know why I think this because I adore animals and I adore children but I’m not adult enough. I know it’s horrible to have to admit that but I’m not adult enough to take care of a child.” Earlier this year her former husband Gunter Sachs, a German-born billionaire art collector, shot himself at the age of 78. Hours after their first meeting Sachs had arranged for a helicopter to fly over her house and drop hundreds of red roses. Knowing her love of animals, he bought her a tame cheetah, which survived longer than their three year-marriage. In return she forbade him from hunting, which was one of his aristocratic pleasures. As Bardot aged her cavalier attitude to her looks was regarded as her way of retaliating against the film industry’s never-ending fascination with her. Described by Time Magazine as “the princess of pout, the countess of come hither”, she regarded her beauty as a curse and has shunned cosmetic surgery. The Mediterranean sun has taken its toll on her once perfect skin while her trademark pout and blonde locks have been replaced by sagging jowls and a mass of unkempt grey hair, with only the occasional dash of make-up. A fervent vegetarian, she has campaigned against the eating of horse meat in France and taken the Chinese government to task over alleged torture of bears. She has also harangued the Canadians over seals, the Irish over hares and the Danes over dolphins. Bizarrely she once ended up in court after having a donkey castrated because it was “sexually harassing” one of her horses. In her homeland BB, as she is fondly known, is regarded much like a slightly dotty maiden aunt. When dining out she’s said to be unable to resist taking scraps of food to feed stray cats along the road home. HER comments on a range of subjects, including immigration and homosexuality, have caused controversy. Most notably she complained about France being “overpopulated by foreigners, especially Muslims”. Her current marriage is to Bernard D’Ormale, a politician from a far-Right political party. Yet because she is a national institution she often gets away with it. She still has the ear of leading politicians, including President Nicolas Sarkozy, who know better than to ignore the strident Mademoiselle Bardot. French commentators have accused her of showing more comp
assion for animals than people. Once, when a friend brought six live lobsters to her home as a surprise dinner gift, Brigitte threw the crustaceans into the sea. “Murderer,” she yelled. We should not be surprised Brigitte Bardot is willing to risk such condemnation by going into battle over a savage dog. For almost 40 years the former actress has made it perfectly clear where her priorities now lie and she doesn’t care a jot if she’s branded a misanthropist. “I gave my beauty and my youth to men,” she says. “I am going to give my wisdom and experience to animals.”

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Brigitte Bardot: Beauty and her beasts – Daily Express

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