Actress Jeanne Moreau, one of French cinema’s biggest stars, died Monday at her home in Paris. She was 89.

Moreau was described as a sensual actress, became an icon of the French New Wave, a late 1950s film movement where directors veered from traditional linear tropes of storytelling and created a new language of film. Dubbed “Le Moreau,” she was one of the most sought-after actresses of her time. She worked with many leading directors in top films including Lift to the Scaffold in 1958 and Les Amants (The Lovers) in 1958 by Louis Malle; La notte (The Night) in 1961 by Michelangelo Antonioni; Jules et Jim (Jules and Jim) in 1962 and The Bride Wore Black in 1968 by François Truffaut; La Baie des Anges  (Bay of Angels) in 1963 by Jacques Demy and Diary of a Chambermaid in 1964 by Luis Buñuel.

Her performance in Malle’s Les Amants made her popular with an American audience as well. In this particular film, Moreau portrays a housewife who is having a sexual affair with a younger man. The film was deemed scandalous at the time and as a result was banned in some U.S cities, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Following this film, Moreau took on a starring role in Roger Vadim’s Les Liaisons Dangereuses (1959), which became censored in several towns in France because of its unflattering depiction of French diplomats, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

A few years later, Moreau rose to bigger international stardom after her performance in Jules et Jim, where she plays Catherine, a free spirited, inquisitive yet capricious individual. “Her qualities as an actress and as a woman made Catherine real before our eyes, made her plausible, crazy, possessive, passionate, but above all adorable,” Moreau wrote of the character.

Moreau’s acting did not go un-rewarded. She won a myriad of awards including the 1960 Cannes Film Festival’s Best Actress award for film Moderato Cantabile, British Academy Film Award (BAFTA) in 1967 for Best Foreign Actress, for her role in 1965 film Viva Maria!  She also won France’s César Award in 1992 for Best Actress, for her role in 1991 film The Old Lady Who Walked in the Sea and the 1958 Venice Film Festival award for Best Actress, for her role in The Lovers.

Even in her 80’s Moreau kept up her on screen appearance. In 2013 she appeared in a 2013 French television series, and later in 2015, she performed a small role in comedy Le Talent de Mes Amis.

Moreau was born in Paris on January 23, 1928, to a French bartender and a Tiller Girl dancer from Oldham, England. Moreau decided at an early age that she wanted to pursue a career in acting. But when she expressed this to her father he slapped her– however, this only fueled her ambition.

“It forces you toward excellence,” she told a reporter for the French newspaper Le Figaro in 2001, according to the New York Times. “All my life I wanted to prove to my father that I was right.”

She pursued her education at the Conservatoire National d’Art Dramatique. At age 20, she became the youngest-ever full-time member of the repertory theater La Comedie Francaise, where she first appeared in Ivan Turgenv’s play A Month in the Country. Among other plays, she performed in the original production of Andre Gide’s The Vatican Caves. Moreau spent four years with the group and then moved on to join the Théâtre National Populaire in 1953, where she performed in plays such as  Le Cid and The Prince From Hamburg and many others.

Besides her performance roles, Moreau served as president of the Commission d’Avances of France’s Centre National de la Cinematographie and was president of the jury at the 1995 Cannes Film Festival, according to Hollywood Reporter.

Although Moreau seemed to have spent most of her life on screen, she had a life off screen. In 1949, married Jean-Louis Richard, a French actor, and screenwriter, with whom she had her only child. Two years later, she remarried her second husband, who was American director William Friedkin. Their marriage too lasted two years. Moreau is survived by her son Jérôme Richard.