January 11, 1923
May 13, 1992
Cinemagoers never got to see the best of Jacqueline Maillan, as her larger-than-life personality was better suited to the boulevard comedies, musicals and one-woman shows on which she built her theatrical reputation. The daughter of an engineer and future wife of composer Michel Emer, Maillan arrived in Paris in 1944 determined to become a great thespian. But her classmates at René Simon's drama school were more amused than affected by her efforts and she quickly found her niche in lighter entertainments. On screen, she first registered as the theatre manager staging a burlesque show in "Ah! Les belles bacchantes" and the sister of buffoonish Jean Desailly in René Clair's military farce, "Les Grandes manoeuvres." She also amused in the sibling rivalry romp "Les Héritiers" and as mothers respectively struggling to control daughters Catherine Deneuve and Françoise Dorléac in "Les Portes claquent" and keep Dany Saval away from bashful Jean Poiret in "Comment réussir en amour." Rare leads eventually came in "Call Me Mathilde," as the kidnap victim trying to outwit her abductors, and "À Notre regrettable époux," as a widow discovering her husband was a gold-thieving bigamist. But she thrived on stealing scenes in ensemble comedies like "A Rare Bird," "Papy fait de la résistance" and "La femme fardée" and Jean-Pierre Mocky's lampoons of corporate chicanery in "Les Saisons du plaisir" and "Ville à vendre" and of the political world in "Une Nuit à l'Assemblée Nationale" and "Is There a Frenchman in the House?"