Maria de Medeiros

Active - 1982 - 2017  |   Born - Aug 19, 1965 in Lisbonne, Portugal  |   Genres - Drama, Comedy

Share on

Biography by Andrea LeVasseur

Tiny and fairy-like, dark-haired beauty Maria de Medeiros was born in Portugal, the sister of actress Inês de Medeiros. After studying philosophy and acting on the stage, she made her Portuguese film debut in Silvestre (1981) and her French film debut in Paris Seen By...20 Years After (1984). Finding a home for herself in France, she stayed there to play several more supporting roles in French TV movies, miniseries, and features. She started appearing in historical costume dramas with Sorceress and 1871 before making her international debut in the erotic costume drama Henry & June (1990), directed by Philip Kaufman. As her first U.S. production, she was ideally cast as author Anaïs Nin , who wrote the source novel detailing her relationship with American novelist Henry Miller (Fred Ward) and his wife, June (Uma Thurman). During this time, she also made her directorial debut with the hour-long drama The Prince's Death, based on the writings of Fernando Pessoa and originally performed on-stage. Now an international film star, she got several roles in Portugal (The Divine Comedy), France (The Man of My Life), and the U.K. (Meeting Venus). She even made a few films in Spain, Golden Balls and Detective of Death, both with Javier Bardem. In 1994, she appeared inQuentin Tarantino's big hit Pulp Fiction, her most recognizable performance to U.S. audiences. She played the small but memorable role of Fabienne, the girlfriend of boxer Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis). Rather than stay in Hollywood, she returned to Europe to make scores of films in Portugal, Germany, Spain, and mostly France. She won a Best Actress award at the 1994 Venice Film Festival for her role in the dark drama Três Irmãos, directed by Teresa Villaverde. In 2000, she made her feature-length debut as a writer, director, and star with the Capitães de Abril, a historical drama about the Portuguese coup d'état of 1974, winning several festival awards. After starring in the Italian comedy Honolulu Baby, she lined up several projects for 2003, including the French comedy I, Cesar and the Guy Maddin film The Saddest Music in the World.

Movie Highlights

See Full Filmography


  • Née à Lisbonne, elle grandit à Vienne en Autriche avant de s'installer à Paris, à 18 ans.
  • Elle a effectué toute sa scolarité dans des lycées français et parlait déjà couramment la langue avant même de s'installer en France.
  • En 1982, Joao César Monteiro lui offre son premier rôle au cinéma dans Silvestre.
  • Après quelques courts-métrages, elle réalise son premier film en 1999, Capitaines d'avril, qui évoque la révolution des Oeillets dans son pays natal.
  • Au cinéma, elle se partage entre la France et le Portugal, mais on la voit aussi dans des productions hollywoodiennes : Henry et June (1990) et Pulp Fiction (1994).
  • Chanteuse, elle a plusieurs albums à son actif.