Monday, August 05, 2013

Madeleine Lebeau Last Surviving Cast Member of Movie Casablanca (1943)

As I was working today I heard the tune "As Time Go's By" from the 1943 movie, Casablanca, and started to wonder if any of the cast of that classic movie is still alive.  Based upon a little research I found the Rick's alcoholic girlfriend is the only cast member still alive. She was a French actress and her part was a case of fiction imitating life.  The following is from Wikipedia:

 "LeBeau married actor Marcel Dalio in 1939 (his second marriage). They had met while performing a play together. In 1939 she appeared in her first movie, the melodrama Jeunes filles en détresse (Girls in Distress).
In June 1940, LeBeau and the Jewish Dalio fled Paris ahead of the invading German army and reached Lisbon. They are presumed to have received transit visas from Aristides de Sousa Mendes, allowing them to enter Spain and journey on to Portugal. It took them two months to obtain visas to Chile. However, when their ship, the S.S. Quanza, stopped in Mexico, they were stranded (along with around 200 other passengers) when the Chilean visas they had purchased turned out to be forgeries. Eventually, they were able to get temporary Canadian passports and entered the United States..."

She worked her way to Hollywood and

"she received the role of Yvonne, Rick’s jilted mistress, in Casablanca. The Warner Brothers studios signed her to a $100-a-week contract for twenty-six weeks to be in a number of films. On June 22, while she was filming her scenes in Casablanca, her husband, Marcel Dalio, who played Emil the croupier in the film, filed for divorce in Los Angeles on the grounds of desertion. Shortly before the release of the movie, Warner Brothers terminated her contract. Since the death of Joy Page in April 2008, LeBeau has been the last surviving cast member of Casablanca."

I remember the first time I saw the movie as a teenager the scene where all the patrons of Rick's Café stand and sing the "La Marseillaise"   was the most emotional  and the most memorable scene of the movie. During the singing there is a close-up of Madeleine who says at the end: "Viva La France"

This is from the IMDB page on the movie:

"During the scene where so many patrons of Rick's started singing La Marseillaise, the French national anthem, many of the actors in that scene were refugees from Europe and their tears were real, including Madeleine's."