Yul Brynner

Photographer and actor

© Yul Brynner

25 summers in Deauville

With his bald head and deep dark gaze, Yul Brynner was a significant figure of the 1950s/1970s movie industry. The cosmopolitan actor, whose popularity was achieved with movies such as Les Sept Mercenaires or Les Dix Commandements, has always kept a special fondness for France where he lived from 1934 to 1941. At the dawn of the 1960s, after shooting Le Testament d’Orphée directed by Jean Cocteau, he bought Le Manoir de Cricquebeuf, in the Pays d’Auge region, in the town of Bonnebosq, 20 km from Deauville. It was around that time that he started being interested for photography.

For over 25 years, the geographic proximity of his summer home to the seaside resort often brought Yul Brynner and Doris, his second wife, to Deauville, where he became a much appreciated figure. As a photographer, he was inspired by the city’s summer activities and events, of which he was simultaneously actor and prized witness. From 1959 to 1985, he never missed an opportunity to create incredible portraits or capture the ambiance onset. As a close friend of Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Jacques Henri Lartigue, he immortalized with his Leica the great moments of Deauville’s summers: Françoise Sagan and Sophie Litvak at the races (1961), Elie de Rothschild playing polo… the shooting of Aimez-vous Brahms ?, directed by Otto Preminger with Ingrid Bergman, Anthony Perkins, and Yves Montand.

Yul Brynner witnessed the creation of the American Film Festival, by which he was honored during the fourth edition, in 1980, when his name was attributed to one of the cabins on the Planches boardwalk.