She received the moniker "The Look" when as a beautiful, carefree dolly bird in swinging '60s London she made an early name for herself in Richard Lester's 1965 comedy "The Knack" and 1966's dark comedy "Georgy Girl."
A 2011 documentary on the actress was aptly titled "Charlotte Rampling: The Look."
But in France, where's she lived since 1979, Rampling's been lovingly nicknamed "The Legend" because of memorable performances playing brave, daring and often difficult women in such acclaimed films as Luchino Visconti's 1969 epic "The Damned," Liliana Cavani's controversial 1974 drama "The Night Porter," Sidney Lumet's acclaimed 1982 drama "The Verdict," and François Ozon's "Under the Sand" (2001) and 2003's "Swimming Pool."
So how does she choose her roles?
"I guess I seek out this great spirit in a character," said the effusive actress, 67, during a recent phone conversation from her home in Paris.
Rampling's bringing her icy, enigmatic quality with a touch of maternal concern to her latest role as Dr. Evelyn Vogel on the final season of Showtime's "Dexter."
The brilliant neuropsychiatrist encounters everyone's favorite serial killer, Dexter (Michael C. Hall), a blood-spatter analyst for the Miami Metro Police Department, when she becomes a consultant for the homicide division's case revolving around a serial killer called the Brain Surgeon.
In the first two episodes it's revealed that years before Vogel had consulted at Miami Metro and encountered Dexter's late father, Harry, who had expressed his concerns to her about young Dexter.
Despite her extraordinary career, Rampling initially didn't have acting aspirations.
"I was working in a boring old typing pool at an advertising agency. I was spotted by the executives on the floor above where all the chic people were working. That was that."
These executives liked her "look" and cast Rampling in a Cadbury chocolate commercial, which led to a role as a water skier in "The Knack," Then came "Georgy Girl" in 1966.
"Dexter" marks Rampling's first series role in the U.S.
"I thought this was intriguing that you come in with a character who is going to reveal a lot of stuff about the main character and cause a lot of suspense and a lot of angst," she said.
"Dexter" airs at 9 p.m. Sundays on Showtime
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