French Cinema Legend, Jean Rochefort Dies At 87


An icon of elegance and comedy with an instantly recognizable mustache, veteran French actor Jean Rochefort has died. The prolific talent and three-time César Award winner was hospitalized in August and passed away overnight Sunday, his family said. He was 87.



Rochefort had nearly 150 films under his belt, including 1972 Cannes entry Hearth Fires opposite Annie Girardot, and that same year’s Le Grand Blond Avec Une Chaussure Noire (The Tall Blond Man With One Black Shoe) by Yves Robert; as well as Bertrand Tavernier’s 1975 hit Que La Fête Commence (Let Joy Reign Supreme); Pierre Schoendoerffer’s Le Crabe-Tambour in 1977; 1990’s The Hairdresser’s Husband from Patrice Leconte; and 2002’s Lost In La Mancha by Keith Fulton and Louis Pepe.


The latter is a documentary about Terry Gilliam’s ill-fated attempt to film The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. Gilliam, who after 17 years recently wrapped production, began shooting the project in 2000 with Rochefort as Quixote. He suffered a double herniated disc during production.

Rochefort was born in Paris and began making movies in the 1950s. He grew to be one of France’s favorite actors, appearing in other popular titles like Philippe de Broca’s Cartouche with Jean-Paul Belmondo and Claudia Cardinale; Leconte’s Les Grands Ducs and Ridicule; and Robert’s Nous Irons Tous Au Paradis and Pardon Mon Affaire which Gene Wilder remade as The Woman In Red in 1984.

Rochefort also notably appeared on television in 1998 miniseries Le Comte De Monte Cristo opposite Gérard Depardieu. His last film role was in 2015’s Floride from director Philippe Le Guay.

Rochefort won a Best Supporting Actor César Award for Que La Fête Commence and a Best Actor César for Le Crabe-Tambour. He was given an honorary prize in 1999.

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