Brigitte Bardot’s shifting passions: From French starlet to outspoken activist

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As Brigitte Bardot approaches her 76th birthday, her starlet aura has been enjoying a broad resurgence — and the woman herself, plenty of attention.

In the year since her widely commemorated 75th birthday, a fashion elite — Dior, Lagerfeld and Gaultier — have offered their catwalk homages to France's famous “sex bomb.” The actress’ tantalizingly retro 1960s-era face looks out over shoppers from the posh Lancel store on the Champs-Élysées (where they sell the recently launched eco-chic Brigitte Bardot Bag). An exposition on her life drew more than 110,000 fans in Paris last summer, and a comparable crowd will continue to visit the Exposition Brigitte Bardot — in St. Tropez until the end of October — 37 years after her last film was released.

“Since she stopped when she was 38 years old, we never saw her age, so that image remained frozen, indelible,” said Dominique Choulant, the author of “Brigitte Bardot: The Eternal Myth.”

It all underscores an undeniable fact: Bardot is a living legend — and that’s part of the problem. Most people continue to admire her as a romanticized, frozen-in-time ideal of French femininity, but the reclusive former starlet remains outspoken — some say obnoxiously so — on the issue that she cares most about: animal rights. “I never had trouble saying what I have to say,” Bardot said last week in a handwritten letter to the Los Angeles Times from her home in St. Tropez.

Full story: Sachs editing – latimes.com