5 June 1944
Gillian Hills (born 5 June 1944) is an English actress and singer. She first came to notice as a teenager in the 1960s in the British films Beat Girl (1960) and Blowup (1966). She also spent a number of years living in France, where she embarked on a singing career as well as starring in a number of French films.
Born in Cairo, Kingdom of Egypt, Hills is the daughter of teacher, traveller, author, and adventurer Denis Hills. Her mother was Wanda "Dunia" Leśmianówna, daughter of Polish poet Bolesław Leśmian. She spent her early years in Nice (France), where she was discovered at 14 by Roger Vadim, the director of And God Created Woman and Barbarella, who saw her as the next Brigitte Bardot and cast her in a version of Les liaisons dangereuses (1959).
At 15, Hills was cast in the lead for the British film Beat Girl, made in 1959 and released in 1960. This was John Barry's first film score. Her co-star was a young Adam Faith in his first film role. The British Board of Film Censors ordered cuts to be made before they would give it an X certificate. In 2016, the British Film Institute (B.F.I.) remastered Beat Girl from the original negative and recorded an interview with Hills for the DVD release.
In 1960, Hills cut her first recordings with Henri Salvador, “Près De La Cascade” and “Cha Cha Stop”, for the French Barclay record label on an EP entitled "Allo Brigitte? Ne coupez pas!". In 1961, she appeared at the Olympia Theatre in Paris on a bill with Johnny Hallyday. She remained with the Barclay label until 1964, having released both cover versions and original self-penned recordings.
Hills had hits with “Ma Première Cigarette”, "Tut Tut Tut Tut" (a French version of "Busy Signal" by The Lollipops), “Zou Bisou Bisou” and "C’est Bien Mieux Comme Ça" with Les Chaussettes Noir, Eddy Mitchell’s first band. In 2012, “Zou Bisou Bisou” was chosen for the premiere of the fifth season of the hit American TV series Mad Men). In 2020, "Tut Tut Tut Tut" was featured in the Netflix series The Queen's Gambit.
In 1965, she signed to the AZ record label run by the radio station Europe 1 and issued an EP that included "Rentre Sans Moi," a French cover of the Zombies "Leave Me Be"; and her self-penned "Rien N'Est Changé".
In 2008, Hills' self-penned song “Qui a Su” was chosen for Jean-François Richet’s film “Mesrine Part One: Killer Instinct” with Vincent Cassel.
At the close of her recording career, Hills returned to England and film, appearing in Michelangelo Antonioni's first English language film Blowup (1966), starring David Hemmings, with whom her character and that of Jane Birkin shared an energetic romp. Blowup won the Grand Prix at 1967 Cannes Film Festival. Next came a play by David Storey at The Royal Court Theatre, The Restoration of Arnold Middleton, director Robert Kidd, followed by the film version of John Osborne's play Inadmissible Evidence (1968), directed by Tony Page, in which she plays the part of Joy. Hills appears in writer James Salter’s only film as a director, a mystery romance Three (1969). Hills also starred as Alison in The Owl Service (1969), a television adaptation of the Alan Garner novel. 1970, Georges Franju chose her to play the part of Albine opposite Francis Huster in La Faute de l'abbé Mouret, adapted from a novel by Émile Zola. Other film appearances followed, including a cameo in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange (1971), in which Hills played one of two girls picked up in a record shop by Alex (Malcolm McDowell). She replaced Marianne Faithfull in the 1972 horror Demons of the Mind for Hammer Film Productions.
In 1972, Hills decided to stop making films. She moved to New York to work as a book and magazine illustrator. Her first book cover was Alice Munro’s Lives of Girls and Women; her last book cover was for Alice Walker's The Color Purple, published by Washington Press.
- Les Liaisons Dangereuses (1959) – Une amie de Cécile
- Beat Girl (1960) – Jennifer Linden
- Tales of Paris (1962) – Theodora (segment "Sophie")
- Golden Goddess of Rio Beni (1964) – Aloa
- Lana, Queen of the Amazons (1964) – (uncredited)
- Blowup (1966) – The Brunette
- Inadmissible Evidence (1968) – Joy
- Three (1969) – Ann
- Nana (1970) – Tina
- The Demise of Father Mouret (1970) – Albine
- A Clockwork Orange (1971) – Sonietta
- Demons of the Mind (1972) – Elizabeth
- Dallas (1974) – Glenda Kelly
- La Muerte llama a las 10 (1974) – Peggy Foster
- The Owl Service (1969–1970) – Alison Bradley
- Upstairs, Downstairs (1971) – The Salesgirl
- Casanova (1971) – Caroline
Singles and EPs:
- 1960 "Cha cha Stop" (Barclay Records) EP
- 1960 "Près de la cascade" (Barclay)
- 1960 "Si tu veux que je te dise" (Barclay) EP
- 1960 "Cou-couche panier" (Barclay)
- 1960 "Spécialisation" (Barclay) EP
- 1960 “Ma Première Cigarette” (Barclay) EP
- 1961 "Jean-Lou" (Barclay) EP
- 1961 "Tu peux" (Barclay)
- 1961 "Zou bisou bisou" (Barclay) EP
- 1962 "En dansant le twist" (Barclay) EP
- 1962 "Musique du film Les Parisiennes" (Barclay) EP
- 1963 "Tu mens" (Barclay) EP
- 1965 "Qui a su" (Barclay) EP
- 1965 "Rien n'est changé" (AZ Records) EP
- 1965 "Look at them" (Vogue Records)
- 2018 "Nefer~titi" (LiLi Records)
- 2018 "Blue Dress" (LiLi Records)
- "Gillian Hills – Rien N'est Changé / Tut, Tut, Tut, Tut / Oublie, Oublie La / Rentre Sans Moi". Discogs. Retrieved 13 November 2020.
- "'Mad Men': The story behind 'Zou Bisou Bisou'". Entertainment Weekly. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
- "Les belles et le beat: The 'yé-yé girls' of French Sixties pop". The Independent. The Independent. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
- "Review: 'Yé-Yé Girls of '60s French Pop' by Jean-Emmanuel Deluxe". Chicago Tribune. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 16 September 2018.
- "Rentre Sans Moi". SecondHand Songs. Retrieved 13 November 2020.
- "From Beat Girl to Mad Men: the life of Gillian Hills". Bfi Org UK. BFI Org UK. Retrieved 16 September 2018.