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a monthly look at the faces that have made history

Jean Seberg

The original French gamine—the actress who inspired a million pixie cuts—was a farm girl from Iowa. Jean Seberg was 17 when Otto Preminger plucked her from obscurity—and a pool of over 18,000 casting hopefuls—to star in his controversial retelling of the Joan of Arc epic. Preminger directed her again in Bonjour Tristesse, before New Wave auteur Jean-Luc Godard cast the close-cropped beauty opposite Jean-Paul Belmondo in his directorial debut, Breathless. The figure Seberg cut strolling down the Champs Élysées in that iconic New York Herald Tribune sweater made style news around the globe.

Seberg grew out her blonde locks for what she considered her finest film, Lilith, in which she played a schizophrenic to Warren Beatty's hospital aide. Beatty's lefty leanings must've made a lasting impression: The FBI later labeled the actress a subversive for her support of the Black Panthers and authorized a false rumor that her unborn child wasn't fathered by her husband, Romain Gary, but by an African-American radical. Following a miscarriage and recurring bouts of depression, Seberg ended her life at the age of 41. Kirsten Dunst has said she'd like to star in a Seberg biopic, but perhaps casting agents should consider aspiring actress and model Mariacarla Boscono, who sparked a runway trend of her own with her peroxide-blonde pixie cut at the Fall collections.

—Nicole Phelps

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