The actress passed away on Tuesday (20Dec16), when her family revealed "the most beautiful eyes in cinema closed definitively this morning", making reference to her magnetic blue-green features which had helped to propel her to fame.

Born Simone Renee Roussel, the star landed her first big project with director Marc Allegret, who cast her in the 1937 movie Gribouille, featuring opposite late actor Raimu.

She went on to score gigs opposite Jean Gabin in 1938's Le Quai des brumes, in which Gabin famously commented on her "beautiful eyes", and Remorques in 1941, establishing herself as a leading lady of French cinema.

Michele relocated to Hollywood at the start of World War Two to pursue her career, but after only landing parts in Joan of Paris, Frank Sinatra's Higher and Higher, and Humphrey Bogart's Passage to Marseille, she decided to head back to France, where she returned to the spotlight with films such as La Symphonie Pastorale, The Fallen Idol, and The Proud and the Beautiful.

Her performance in Jean Delannoy's La Symphonie Pastorale in 1946 earned her the first ever Best Actress prize at the Cannes Film Festival.

Among her other career accolades include a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, an Honorary Cesar Award, and the Legion d'honneur, the highest civilian honour in France.

Michele wed three times, exchanging vows with actors William Marshall, Henri Vidal, and Gerard Oury, who she was married to until his death in 2006.

She also had a son with Marshall, actor Mike Marshall, but he died in 2005, aged 60.