Yvette Mimieux

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Yvette Mimieux
Yvette Mimieux - still.jpg
Mimieux c. 1975
Yvette Carmen Mimieux

(1942-01-08) January 8, 1942 (age 79)
Years active1956–1992
(m. 1972; div. 1985)

Howard Ruby
(m. 1986)

Yvette Carmen Mimieux[1] (born January 8, 1942)[2] is an American retired television and film actress. She was nominated for three Golden Globe Awards during her acting career.

Early life and career[edit]

Yvette Carmen Mimieux was born in Los Angeles County, California, United States,[3] to her French father René Mimieux and Mexican mother Maria Montemayor.[3][4] She has at least two siblings, a sister, Gloria, and a brother.[4]

Talent manager Jim Byron suggested she become an actress.[5]

Her first acting appearances were in episodes of the television shows Yancy Derringer and One Step Beyond.


Mimieux's first feature was George Pal's film version of H. G. Wells's 1895 novel The Time Machine (1960) starring Rod Taylor, in which she played the character Weena. It was made for MGM, which put her under long-term contract.

She appeared in Platinum High School (1960), produced by Albert Zugsmith for MGM, which was released before The Time Machine.[6]

She guest-starred in an episode of Mr Lucky, then was one of several leads in the highly popular teen comedy Where the Boys Are (1960).[7][8][9]

MGM put Mimieux in the ingenue role in Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (1961), an expensive flop.[10] Arthur Freed wanted to team her and George Hamilton in a remake of The Clock, but it was not made.[11]

She had a central role in Light in the Piazza (1962) with Olivia de Havilland and George Hamilton, playing a mentally disabled girl. The film lost money but was well regarded critically. "I suppose I have a soulful quality," she later said. "I was often cast as a wounded person, the 'sensitive' role."[12]

She was meant to do A Summer Affair at MGM, but it was not made.[13]

She had a small part in Pal's The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm (1963), another commercial disappointment. Also later that year, she appeared in Diamond Head (1963) for Columbia, billed second to Charlton Heston.

She went to United Artists for Toys in the Attic, based on the play by Lillian Hellman and co-starring Dean Martin.

While at MGM, Mimieux guest-starred on two episodes of Dr. Kildare alongside Richard Chamberlain. She played a surfer suffering from epilepsy, a performance that was much acclaimed.[14] In her appearance she was the first person on American television to show her navel.

Mimieux made a cameo as herself in Looking for Love (1964) starring Connie Francis and played Richard Chamberlain's love interest in Joy in the Morning (1965), a melodrama.


She was in a Western with Max von Sydow at Fox, The Reward (1965); the Disney comedy Monkeys, Go Home! (1967); and a heist film The Caper of the Golden Bulls (1967).[15]

She did The Desperate Hours (1967) for TV and was reunited with Rod Taylor in the MGM action movie Dark of the Sun (1968). In 1968 she narrated a classical music concert at the Hollywood Bowl.[16][17]

Mimieux was top-billed in Three in the Attic (1969) a hit for AIP.[18]

She appeared in the critically acclaimed movie The Picasso Summer (1969) alongside Albert Finney.[19]

Mimieux was the female lead in The Delta Factor (1970), an action film.


She then had one of the leads in The Most Deadly Game (1970–1971), a short-lived TV series from Aaron Spelling. She replaced Inger Stevens.[20] Around this time Mimieux had a business selling Haitian products and studied archeology; she would travel several months of each year.[21]

After making the TV movies Death Takes a Holiday (1971) and Black Noon (1971). In 1971 she sued her agent for not providing her with movie work despite taking money.[22]

She was an air hostess in MGM's Skyjacked (1972), starring Heston[23] and was in the Fox science-fiction film The Neptune Factor (1973).[24]

By the early 1970s, Mimieux was unhappy with the roles offered to female actors."The women they [male screenwriters] write are all one dimensional," she said."They have no complexity in their lives. It's all surface. There's nothing to play. They're either sex objects or vanilla pudding."[25]

Mimieux had been writing for several years prior to this film, mostly journalism and short stories. She had the idea for a story about a Pirandello-like theme, "the study of a woman, the difference between what she appears to be and what she is: appearance vs reality." Mimieux says the more she thought about the character "the more I wanted to play her. Here was the kind of nifty, multifaceted part I'd been looking for. So instead of a short story, I wrote it as a film."[25]

She wrote a thriller, which she took to producers Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg, who then produced it for ABC as a television film. It aired as Hit Lady (1974).[25]

Mimieux starred in The Legend of Valentino (1975), in which she played Rudolph Valentino's second wife, Natacha Rambova. Also in 1975, she made the Canadian thriller Journey into Fear.

In 1976, she made a pilot for a TV sitcom based on Bell, Book and Candle, but it was not picked up.

Later movies[edit]

Mimieux was a falsely imprisoned woman victimized by a sadistic guard in the film Jackson County Jail (1976) with Tommy Lee Jones for New World Pictures, which was a box-office hit.

She was in some horror-oriented TV movies, Snowbeast (1977), Devil Dog: The Hound of Hell (1978), and Disaster on the Coastliner (1979). She also did the TV movies Ransom for Alice! (1977) and Outside Chance (1978).

Later, Mimieux co-starred in the first PG-rated Walt Disney Productions feature, The Black Hole (1979). She had the lead in Circle of Power (1981).[26]

Mimieux was in the TV movie Forbidden Love (1982) and Night Partners (1983) and guest-starred on The Love Boat and Lime Street.

She made Obsessive Love (1984), a television film about a female stalker which she co-wrote and co-produced. "There are few enough films going these days," she said, "and there are three or four women who are offered all the good parts. Of course I could play a lot of awful parts that are too depressing to contemplate.... [Television] is not the love affair I have with film, but television can be a playground for interesting ideas. I love wild, baroque, slightly excessive theatrical ideas, and because television needs so much material, there's a chance to get some of those odd ideas done."[27][28]

She had the lead in Berrenger's (1985), a short-lived TV series and had a support role in the TV movie The Fifth Missile (1986).

Mimieux guest-starred in a TV movie Perry Mason: The Case of the Desperate Deception (1990). Her last film was Lady Boss (1992).[1]

She retired from acting in 1992.

Personal life[edit]

She married Evan Harland Engber on December 19, 1959, but kept the marriage secret for almost two years.[29]

She was married to film director Stanley Donen from 1972 until their divorce in 1985.[30][1] Mimieux later married Howard F. Ruby, chairman emeritus and founder of Oakwood Worldwide.[31][32]


Television work[edit]


  • The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm 1962 (MGM Records), as The Dancing Princess
  • Baudelaire's Flowers of Evil (Les Fleurs Du Mal) 1968 (Connoisseur Society), reading excerpts of Cyril Scott's 1909 translation with music by Ali Akbar Khan


  1. ^ a b c "Yvette Mimeiux". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved January 11, 2020.
  2. ^ "UPI Almanac for Monday, Jan 8, 2018". United Press International. January 8, 2018. Archived from the original on January 8, 2018. Retrieved September 21, 2019. …actor Yvette Mimieux in 1942 (age 76)
  3. ^ a b "Yvette Mimieux". California Birth Index. Retrieved January 11, 2020. Yvette Carmen Mimieux was born on January 8, 1942 in Los Angeles County, California. Her father's last name is Mimieux, and her mother's maiden name is Montemayor.
  4. ^ a b "Yvette Mimieux". United States Library of Congress. Retrieved January 11, 2020. Photographs show actress Yvette Mimieux with family and friends. Includes Mimieux at home with parents, father René, mother Carmen, sister Gloria, and brother.
  5. ^ "Under Hedda's Hat: The Mystery of Yvette Mimieux" Chicago Tribune, June 9, 1963. p. H36.
  6. ^ Yvette steals the show: A year ago she was on our cover. Now look at the girl--she's had two movies, five proposals and starred at the Debs' Ball! Actors are out! by Hyams, Joe. Los Angeles Times December 6, 1959: J21
  7. ^ "Where the Boys Are (1960) Directed by Henry Levin". LETTERBOXD. Retrieved October 11, 2018.
  8. ^ Levy, Emanuel. "WHERE THE BOYS ARE (1960): Iconic Spring Break Movie, Starring Connie Francis, Dolores Hart, Yvette Mimieux". EmanuelLevy.com. Emanuel Levy - Cinema 24/7. Retrieved March 25, 2013.
  9. ^ New Pictures Get Go-Ahead Signals: Karlson, Levin Will Direct for Widmark and Pasternak, by Scott, John L. Los Angeles Times May 18, 1960: A11.
  10. ^ YVETTE MIMIEUX SIGNED: Actress Gets Role in 'Four Horsemen of Apocalypse'. New York Times August 12, 1960: 11.
  11. ^ Mimieux, Hamilton Teamed: Film Is Remake of 'Clock'; Mary Costa Going to Rome, by Hopper, Hedda. Los Angeles Times June 7, 1961: B10.
  12. ^ The Mystique of Actress Yvette Mimieux, by By Megan Rosenfeld. The Washington Post November 29, 1979: D13.
  13. ^ Yvette Mimieux to Do 'Summer Affair': Changes in Motion Picture Code Decried by Rock Hudson, by Hopper, Hedda. Los Angeles Times February 23, 1962: C16.
  14. ^ Yvette Mimieux in Television Debut -- Los Angeles Times September 5, 1963: C12.
  15. ^ Yvette Mimieux's Got a Secret, by Hopper, Hedda. Los Angeles Times April 11, 1965: m4.
  16. ^ Foster Conducts Program at Bowl, by Arlen, Walter. Los Angeles Times August 15, 1968: e24.
  17. ^ Yvette Looking Ahead to Grandmotherhood, by Boyle, Hal. Los Angeles Times August 11, 1967: d17.
  18. ^ Ebert, Roger (December 20, 1968). "THREE IN THE ATTIC". RogerEbert.com. Chicago Sun-Times.
  19. ^ Lindbergs, Kimberly. "A Tale of Two Films: THE PICASSO SUMMER (1969)". CINEBEATS. Retrieved April 15, 2012.
  20. ^ Yvette Mimieux in Cast of Deadly Game Los Angeles Times May 19, 1970: f18.
  21. ^ Actress Mixes Altruism and Business, by JUDY KLEMESRUD. New York Times September 23, 1970: 54.
  22. ^ "Film Agency Sued by Yvette Mimieux". Los Angeles Times. August 21, 1971. p. 20.
  23. ^ Soares, Emily. "Skyjacked (1972)". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved August 16, 2018.
  24. ^ Servi, Vera (May 28, 1972). "Mmovies: Yvette Mimieux's Front Page Performance". Chicago Tribune. p. K14.
  25. ^ a b c "Yvette Mimieux's Right for This Role". Los Angeles Times. October 7, 1974. p. E17.
  26. ^ "Circle of Power (1981) Directed by Bobby Roth". LETTERBOXD. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
  27. ^ 'Obsessive Love,' Movie With Yvette Mimieux, By JOHN O'CONNOR. New York Times October 2, 1984: C18.
  28. ^ MIMIEUX PRODUCES A MOVIE FOR TV, by Farber, Stephen. New York Time1 Oct 1984: C.17.
  29. ^ "Yvette Mimieux Married". The New York Times. Associated Press. October 27, 1961. p. 27. ... has been secretly married since 1959 ... Records show that she was married to Evan Harland Engber here [in Los Angeles] on Dec. 19. ... Mr. Engber, who was recently discharged from the Army ... Abstract only; full article requires subscription.
  30. ^ "Yvette Mimieux". National Names Database. Retrieved December 31, 2015.
  31. ^ Eng, Dinah (September 4, 2014). "Howard Ruby: The father of corporate housing". Fortune. Archived from the original on June 2, 2019. Retrieved January 11, 2020.
  32. ^ "About Oakwood > Executive Committee > Howard Ruby: Chairman, Founder and COO". Oakwood Worldwide. Archived from the original on January 10, 2020.

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