Born as Colette Suzanne Dacheville, she began using her stage name of Stephane Audran in the mid-1950s. A doctor's daughter, she was born and raised
in Versailles and began her acting career
onstage and in a short film directed by Eric Rohmer. Audran
entered features in 1957 with a small
role in Herve Bromberger's
gangster-themed La Bonne tisane/Good Medicine/Kill or Cure.
After being introduced to Claude Chabrol
by Gerard Blain and Jean-Claude Brialy,
the actress asked for a part in the
director's next film; the result was a
supporting role in Les Cousins (1959)
but it marked the beginning of a their on
and off screen relationships. Even after their marriage ended, the actress and the director continued to work together.
Chabrol helped to shape the onscreen persona of Audran as that of a coolly elegant middle-class Frenchwoman. Bringing a
combination of old-fashioned movie star
glamour and a detached sophistication
bolstered by a strong acting technique,
the actress shone in a number of Chabrol
films ranging from Les Bonne femmes/The Girls
(1960) to The Champagne Murders/Le Scandale
(1966). Les Biches/The Does (1967), in
starred as a lesbian
opposite her first husband Jean-Louis Trintignant,
brought her the Best Actress Award at
the Berlin Film Festival. Other notable Chabrol
films include Le Boucher/The Butcher
(1969), Juste avant la nuit/Just Before
Nightfall (1971), Violette Noziere
(1977) and The Blood of Others (1984).
Audran also appeared in several
notable features directed by others,
including two which won Oscars
as Best Foreign Film:
surrealistic comedy The Discreet Charm of the
Bourgeoisie (1972) and Gabriel Axel's
well-crafted Babette's Gastebud/Babette's Feast (1988).
Her English-language films have, however,
more disappointing, but she was well-cast
as Lord Marchmain's knowing mistress
in the 1982 TV adaptation of Brideshead Revisited.