Franco-British actor Michael Lonsdale, a comedian of avant-garde and popular productions, died on Monday at the age of 89 after a 60-year career and an ordination for this passionate Christian for his role as a monk in “Of the Men and” Gods.
The actor with the hair and the white beard, an interpreter of more than 200 roles, died on Monday afternoon at his home in Paris, AFP told his agent Olivier Loiseau. The committed Catholic, who was baptized at the age of 22, received the César for best actor in a supporting role on the eve of his 80th birthday in 2011 for his interpretation of Brother Luc, a free and heroic Cistercian monk who was murdered in Tibéhirine, Algeria “Des hommes et des dieux” by Xavier Beauvois. Cardinal Barbarin (former Archbishop of Lyon) said he gave “the sacrament of the sick” to these believers. “He was really happy!” He said on Twitter. On the screen Michael Lonsdale had put on the cassock (“Le Procès” by Orson Welles, 1962), the bure robe (“Le Nom de la Rose” by Jean-Jacques Annaud, 1986) wore the purple of the cardinals (“Galileo”) by Joseph Losey, 1974), who interprets the Archangel Gabriel in “My life is a hell” by Josiane Balasko (1991).
Versatile, he wore many other clothes. Alternating policeman, assassin, vice-consul, hatter, judge or duke, he also played the “bad guy” in a James Bond (“Moonraker”, 1979) and lent his buttocks up in a sadomasochistic session in “The Phantom of Liberty” by Luis Bunuel. This childless bachelor appeared again last year in a short film for the Paris Opera “Degas et Moi” by Arnaud des Pallières. With this bearded giant with an amazing vocal frenzy, it was hard to imagine a difficult start. Because if he wants to believe in his star, others only see a shy young man. Michael Lonsdale was born in Paris on May 24, 1931, of a marriage between an English officer and a French woman. He was perfectly bilingual and grew up in London and then Morocco. In 1942, American soldiers let him discover films from their country. When he returned to Paris in 1947, this reluctant graduate student who knew nothing about Molière or Racine visited his uncle Marcel Arland, director of the NRF (literary review, edited by Gallimard). It quickly fills its gaps. He enrolled in the classes of the renowned Russian teacher Tania Balachova, who helped him overcome her great shyness. There he met in particular the French actors Delphine Seyrig, Jean-Louis Trintignant and Stéphane Audran. Here it is in 1955 in “For the better and for the worse” by the American Clifford Odets on the boards. He loves radical experiments: the director Jean-Marie Serreau chooses him for “The future lies in the eggs” and “Amédée or how to get rid of it” by Eugène Ionesco. Then comes the Irishman Samuel Beckett (“Comedy”, “Come and Go”), who lets him discover silence, these counterpoints that reinforce the weight of the words. He becomes the favorite actor of Marguerite Duras (“The English Lover”), his accomplice, with whom he giggles. Michael Lonsdale multiplies the experiments in the cinema: he turns with Jean-Pierre Mocky (“Snobs!”), Orson Welles (“The Trial”), François Truffaut (“The Bride Was In Black”, “Stolen Kisses”) and Louis around Malle (“Le souffle au coeur”), Jacques Rivette (“Out 1”) and Jean Eustache (“A dirty story”). He answers Louis de Funès in “Hibernatus” (Edouard Molinaro) and has fun in “The Secret of the Yellow Room” (Bruno Podalydès), with Catherine Breillat (“An Old Beloved”) or even with the young Pio Marmaï ( “Maestro”).
The artist-painter, this connoisseur of Saint-John Perse and Saint Jean de La Croix, gives his voice to countless documentaries, audio books, readings and recordings by Montaigne, Nietzsche, Proust and Saint François d’Assise. In the world of cinema, the former president of the Cannes Film Festival, Gilles Jacob, “praised the voice, but also the draw, the silhouette, the carcass, a lanky way of dragging all the heaviness of the world and turning it into a pirouette. ” , pftt … “. (Belga / Belga)