Irving Penn
Jean Cocteau
Poet / Filmmaker

Jean Maurice Eugène Clément Cocteau (July 5, 1889 – October 11, 1963) was a French writer, designer, playwright, artist and filmmaker. Cocteau is best known for his novel Les Enfants Terribles (1929), and the films The Blood of a Poet (1930), Les Parents Terribles (1948), Beauty and the Beast (1946) and Orpheus (1949). His circle of associates, friends included Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Salvador Dalí, Gertrude Stein, Jean Hugo, Jean Marais, Henri Bernstein, Yul Brynner, Marlene Dietrich, Coco Chanel, Erik Satie, Igor Stravinsky, Marie Laurencin, Panama Al Brown, Colette, Jean Genet, and Raymond Radiguet.

Biographer James S. Williams describes Cocteau’s politics as “naturally Right-leaning.” His public praise of an exhibition in Paris of Brecker’s neo-Classical statues shocked his friends. The poet Paul Éluard chastised him by saying “Freud, Kafka and Chaplin have been banned by the very people you have honored.” This led to an investigation of Cocteau after the liberation in 1944, but he was cleared of charges of collaboration.

Cocteau died of a heart attack at his chateau in Milly-la-Forêt, Essonne, France, on 11 October 1963 at the age of 74.

[edited from The New York Times / Wikipedia]