Born in Germany to French parents, Simone Signoret was raised in Paris. While working with the Free French patriotic organization during WWII, she entered films as an extra in British wartime productions. Through the auspices of her first husband, director Yves Allegret, Signoret was given the "star build-up" in the postwar years. One of the best of her unlucky-in-love characterizations was in Casque D'Or (1952), for which she won a British Film Industry award. Signoret went on to win an Oscar for her portrayal of Laurence Harvey's tragic castaway mistress in Room at the Top (1959). Her second husband was Yves Montand. Maturing into a plump but still bewitching character actress, Signoret continued appearing in choice film roles until 1982. Simone Signoret was the author of several books, foremost among them the witty, melancholy autobiography Nostalgia Isn't What It Used to Be.