Jean Seberg's grave in the Cimetière du Montparnasse, Paris, France.
(Courtesy/Copyright Michel Ambruster.)
Those of us who are fans, family, friends, believers of change for the better cannot let August 30th go by without remembering Jean Seberg.
The beautiful actress, activist and icon was last seen alive on August 30, 1979 and discovered in her Renault automobile several days later, not far from her Paris, France apartment.
This was a time in which there was no internet, no tweeting, no emails, no cable TV in every home. But her death spread throughout the world.
News in the U.S. was learned by television, radio and newspapers. The first reports of Jean's death were on radio in which at the top of every hour was a recap of breaking and recent news stories. The-then three networks all carried stories about Jean's death in their national evening news shows, and the following morning so did most every U.S. newspaper.
The French in particular were moved by the passing of their adopted daughter. They preempted regular broadcasting with a showing of Bonjour Tristesse to honor the beloved actress from Marshalltown, Iowa.
Although Jean hadn't made a major American theatrical film since the Academy Award-nominated blockbuster Airport (with Burt Lancaster, Dean Martin, Jacqueline Bisset and Helen Hayes) ten years earlier, and her last American film was for ABC-Television (Mousey with Kirk Douglas) in 1974, she was still a name.
More news reports followed in the next week as more revelations about her life and death came to light, each one more lengthy than the previous.
It had been 23 years prior in which Marshalltown, Iowa's Jean Seberg became a star overnight when she was chosen to play Joan of Arc in Otto Preminger's Saint Joan. The news media made her a known name. And it was the news media that helped bring her downfall in 1970.
With the amount of coverage upon Jean's death, did those in the news media feel they had done her wrong? Jim Bellows of the Los Angeles Times certainly felt so. In his many years as editor and the countless stories he was involved with, his biggest regret was the newspaper's role in spreading gossip about Jean without verifying its accuracy.
Although she has not been fully exonerated and misinformation continues to be spread about her in both traditional and new media, the truth is out there if one wishes to learn it. Fourth Wall Films and McMarr, LTD's award-winning Movie Star: The Secret Lives of Jean Seberg will be released on DVD later in 2017, with broadcasts following in 2018.
The annual Jean Seberg Festival of the Arts invites U.S. and international fans to come to Jean's hometown of Marshalltown to celebrate Iowa's daughter and movie star November 3-5th, 2017. The festival features Seberg-inspired art, film, theater, a massive collection of Jean Seberg photographs and memorabilia, symposiums, tours of her town and sites connected to her life growing up in Marshalltown. Visit Jean Seberg at the O! for more details.
For news and regular updates, click LIKE at the Movie Star: The Secret Lives of Jean Seberg fan page on Facebook.