1921 - 1941
The actress Annie Vernay belongs to the most tragically destinies of the French film whose career was doing very well but came to an abrupt end.
Annie Vernay was born as Annie-Martine-Jacqueline Vermeersch in Genève on November 1921.
Because her mother couldn't realize an artistic career because of her marriage she soon tried to push her daughter into an artistic career. She applied her daughter for a beauty contest when she was 16 years old.
During this contest Annie Vernay had been spotted by Juan les Pins who recommended her in a letter to director Victor Tourjanski.
Tourjanski engaged her for the role of Lisl in his movie "Le mensonge de Nina Petrovna" (37) at Isa Miranda's and Fernand Gravey's side.
Her appearances became a great success and other engagements did not be a long time coming.
Already in her next movie "La principessa Taraknova" (38) she impersonated the leading role at Pierre Richard Willm's side and the movie was one of the greatest successes of that year.
For her next movie she acted again with Pierre Richard Willm in front of the camera. The famous producer Seymour Nebenzahl engaged Annie Vernay for several movies and the great director Max Ophüls knew how to put herself in a good light for his movie "Le roman de Werther" (38). This movie underpinned her reputation to be the new star of the French film.
But the breakout of World War II catapulted the cinema industry into the background of the interest of the public.
Annie Vernay continued her film career with "Chantons quand même" (39), "Les otages" (39) with Pierre Larquey and "Dédé la musique" (39) with Albert Préjean.
Because of the threat of France by Germany Annie Vernay had the intention to go back to Switzerland.
But at this time she got an offer from Hollywood to play the role of the foreigner in the movie "Rick's Cafe" and her mother convinced her to accept the offer.
They went to the USA via Buenes Aires by ship.
But Annie Vernay fell ill of typhus on board and died in a hospital after her arrival in Buenos Aires on August 1941. Annie Vernay was only 19 years old.
The movie for which she wanted to travel to Hollywood was later filmed under the title "Casablanca" and Ingrid Bergmann became world famous with her role of the foreigner.