French film and theatre director, actor, and writer, of Ukrainian descent. He is most renowned for the sexually explicit nature of his films and the fact that the main actor was often one of his many wives and lovers. He is also credited with bringing continental film into mainstream cinema, and leading the way for the New Wave of French film-makers influential in the 1950s and 1960s.
Vadim's first film works were the co-writing of two British films, Blackmailed (1950), and The Naked Heart (1950). He was married to Brigitte Bardot 1952–57; during this time Bardot starred in two erotic films which Vadim co-wrote and directed, Et Dieu Créa la Femme/And God Created Woman (1956), and Les Bijoutiers Du Clair De Lune/Heaven Fell That Night (1957). He married Annette Stroyberg in 1958, who was cast in his version of Les Liasons Dangereuses/Dangerous Liasons (1959), and in his vampire film, Et Mourir de Plaisir/Blood and Roses (1960). They were divorced in 1961. Meanwhile, he made more films with Brigitte Bardot, including Le Repos du Guerrier/Warrior's Rest (1962). In 1963 he worked with Catherine Deneuve, with whom he had a relationship and a son. He married his third wife, Jane Fonda, in 1965, who starred, among other films of Vadim's, in Barbarella (1968).
Other films include La Bride sur le Cou/Please, Not Now! (1961, with Bardot), and Le Vice et la Vertu/Vice and Virtue (1963, starring Deneuve). He cast Jane Fonda in his films La Ronde (1964), La Curée/The Game is Over (1966), and in his work on Histoires Extraordinaires/Spirits of the Dead (1967). He also made Pretty Maids All in a Row (1971), and Don Juan 73 ou si Don Juan etait une femme/Don Juan 73 or If Don Juan Were a Woman (1973), which again starred Bardot, and was badly received, as was his remake of And God Created Woman (1988, starring Rebecca DeMornay).
His later films were less successful, and he worked intermittently as an actor himself. He and Jane Fonda were divorced in 1973, and in 1975 he began a brief marriage with Catherine Schneider, an heiress. In 1990 he married the actor Marie-Christine Barrault.