Claude Jade, 58, the French actress who starred in several of director Francois Truffaut's best-loved films, died Friday at a hospital in the Paris suburb of Boulogne-Billancourt, said Jacques Rampal, a playwright she had recently worked with. She had been suffering from eye cancer, which spread, he said.
The young actress caught Truffaut's attention while appearing onstage in Shakespeare's "Henry IV" in the 1960s. He cast her as a young woman in love in the 1968 film "Baisers Voles" (Stolen Kisses), alongside leading man Jean-Pierre Leaud. Truffaut continued the story of the characters' marriage and divorce in "Domicile Conjugal" (Bed & Board) and "L'Amour en Fuite" (Love on the Run).
Born Claude Jorre in Dijon, France, Jade had a role in Alfred Hitchcock's 1969 film "Topaz," about a French spy network, and she also appeared alongside crooner Jacques Brel in the 1969 film "Mon Oncle Benjamin" (My Uncle Benjamin).
Her last role was in Rampal's play "Celimene et le Cardinal" (Celimene and the Cardinal), which played in Paris and in festivals this summer. Already suffering from cancer, she wore a plastic eye for her performances, Rampal said. Before she died, she had been reading the script for a television movie that she'd hoped to shoot this spring, he said.