Zizi Jeanmaire (born 29 April 1924) is a French ballet dancer and widow of renowned dancer and choreographer Roland Petit. She became famous in the 1950s after playing the title role in the ballet Carmen, produced in London in 1949, and went on to appear in several Hollywood films.
Born in Paris, France, as Renée Marcelle Jeanmaire, she met her future husband and long-time collaborator Roland Petit at the Paris Opera Ballet at the age of nine. She joined his company, Petit’s ballets de Paris in 1949. In 1954 they married, and their successful shows put her on the road to stardom.
This led to a brief stint in Hollywood (where she was credited simply as Jeanmaire), appearing in the musicals Hans Christian Andersen (1952) and Anything Goes (1956). After that, she concentrated on ballet, producing more than 60 shows with Petit. From the 1960s on, she also had a career in music with such hits as “Mon truc en plumes”.
She and Petit had one daughter, Valentine Petit, a dancer and actress