A child actress who started her career at age 4 in a short before getting a small part at age 7 in a silent movie, Le Stigmate, Jeannine Augustine Jeanne Blanleuil, named Josseline Gael for the screen, subsequently appeared in supporting roles, amongst them Cosette in the best adaptation of the Victor Hugo's classic Les misérables (1935). She matured into a young and beautiful woman in front of the camera and became a sought-after actress in the late thirties, appearing in 48 movies until 1944. Following her marriage to Jules Berry, one of the most talented french actor and an inveterate gambler, she also combined a successful career as a stage actress. They had a daughter, Michèle, who later became a renowned art dealer. In 1943, Josseline left Berry for Antonin "Tony" Saunier, a member of the French Gestapo. With Saunier, she shared a life of luxury until the Liberation when they were both arrested. When the film Coup de tête was released in October 1944, its main actress Josseline Gaël was already in prison. Saunier, along with his gang members, was shot in front of a firing squad in March 1946 after being sentenced to death for his crimes and his collaboration with the Gestapo. At her sensational trial on April 8th 1946 in Lyon, Jules Berry, to whom she was still legally married, pleaded clemency for his wife to the judge. Despite a moving plea, Gaël was condemned to "National Degradation" (Deprivation of one's civil rights as a French citizen) for life. She also received a ban that forbade her to work for several years, as well as a hefty fine. She totally dissapeared from the public view and lived with her daughter nearby her mother in the town of Angoulême, then in Mouthiers-sur-Boëme. In her old days, she lived in the nursing home of Girac in Saint-Michel-d'Entraygues where no one was aware of her famous past and later unfamous trial. Her daughter married in the small village of Mouthiers-sur-Boëme, near Angoulême, where her mother is actually buried in a very old cemetery just outside the village.
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