Brigitte Anne-Marie Bardot (/brɪˌʒiːt bɑːrˈdoʊ/ (listen) brizh-EET bar-DOH; French: [bʁiʒit baʁdo] (listen); born 28 September 1934), often referred to by her initials B.B., is a French former actress and singer, and animal rights activist. Famous for portraying sexually emancipated personae with hedonistic lifestyles, she was one of the best known sex symbols of the 1950s and 1960s. Although she withdrew from the entertainment industry in 1973, she remains a major popular culture icon.
Born and raised in Paris, Bardot was an aspiring ballerina in her early life. She started her acting career in 1952. She achieved international recognition in 1957 for her role in the controversial And God Created Woman, and also caught the attention of French intellectuals. She was the subject of Simone de Beauvoir‘s 1959 essay The Lolita Syndrome, which described her as a “locomotive of women’s history” and built upon existentialist themes to declare her the first and most liberated woman of post-war France. Bardot later starred in Jean-Luc Godard‘s 1963 film Le Mépris. For her role in Louis Malle‘s 1965 film Viva Maria! she was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actress.
Bardot retired from the entertainment industry in 1973. She had acted in 47 films, performed in several musicals and recorded more than 60 songs. She was awarded the Legion of Honour in 1985 but refused to accept it. After retiring, she became an animal rights activist. During the 2000s, she generated controversy by criticizing immigration and Islam in France, and she has been fined five times for inciting racial hatred. Bardot is married to Bernard d’Ormale, a former adviser of the National Rally, France’s main far-right political party.