Saint-Mandé, Val-de-Marne, (France), she studied acting under René Simon (1898–1966), making her stage debut in 1940 and her first motion picture in 1943. One of the most beautiful women in film, she was frequently cast as an elegant blonde seductress. During the late 1940s and early 1950s she was the leading sex symbol and a top box office draw of french cinema. One of her most famous roles was as the title character in Lola Montès (1955), directed by Max Ophüls, in a role which necessitated dark hair.
Despite her fame and fortune, Martine Carol's personal life was filled with turmoil that included a suicide attempt and drug abuse, and four marriages. She was also kidnapped by gangster Pierre Loutrel (aka "Pierrot le Fou" or "Crazy Pete"), albeit briefly and received roses the next day as an apology.
She died unexpectedly of a heart attack in a Monte Carlo hotel room at the age of only forty-six.
Four weddings and two funeralsMartine Carol was married four times, to:
- Stephen Crane (Josef Stephen Crane, aka), American actor and restaurant manager, previously Lana Turner's husband. Married in 1948, divorced in 1953.
- Christian-Jaque, film director. Married July 15, 1954, divorced in 1959.
- Dr. André Rouveix, a young doctor she met in Martinique, Fort-de-France. Married August 3, 1959, divorced in 1962.
- Mike Eland, English businessman. Married in 1966, until her death.
- Les Amants de Vérone (1949)
- I Like Only You (1950)
- Caroline chérie (1951)
- Adorable Creatures (1952)
- Beauties of the Night (1952)
- Lucrèce Borgia (1953)
- Destinées (1954) segment "Lysistrata"
- Madame du Barry (1954)
- Nana (1955)
- Les Carnets du Major Thompson (1955)
- Lola Montès (1955)
- Around the World in 80 Days (1956)
- Action of the Tiger (1957)
- Ten Seconds to Hell (1959)
- Austerlitz (1959)
- Love and the Frenchwoman (1960)
- The Counterfeiters of Paris (1961)
- Vanina Vanini (1961)