Leslie Claire Margaret Caron (French pronunciation: ; born 1 July 1931) is a French film actress and dancer, who appeared in 45 films between 1951 and 2003. Caron is best known for the musical films An American in Paris (1951), Lili (1953), Daddy Long Legs (1955), Gigi (1958), and for the non-musical films Fanny (1961), The L-Shaped Room (1962), and Father Goose (1964). She received two Academy Award nominations for Best Actress. She speaks French and English. She is one of the few dancers or actresses who has danced with Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and Rudolf Nureyev.
Caron was born in Boulogne-sur-Seine, Seine (now Boulogne-Billancourt, Hauts-de-Seine), France, the daughter of Margaret (née Petit), an American dancer, and Claude Caron, a French chemist. Caron was prepared for a performing career from childhood by her mother.
Caron started her career as a ballet dancer. Gene Kelly discovered her, and cast her to appear opposite him in the musical An American in Paris (1951), a role in which a pregnant Cyd Charisse was originally cast. This led to a long-term MGM contract and a sequence of films, which included the musical The Glass Slipper (1955) and the drama Gaby (1956). Still, she has said of herself: "I'm not a ballerina. I'm a hoofer."