The “Magnificent” is gone. Jean-Paul Belmondo died on Monday at the age of 88, his lawyer told AFP. The actor will forever remain as a sacred monster of French cinema. In more than fifty years of career, he appeared as well in films of authors as in popular feature films.
In front of Jean-Luc Godard’s camera (Breathless, Pierrot le fou…), François Truffaut (The Mississippi Mermaid), Henri Verneuil (A monkey in winter, Fear over the city…), Philippe de Broca (Rio man, The magnificent…) or Claude Lelouch (Itinerary of a spoiled child…) or Georges Lautner (The Guignolo, the professional)… Jean-Paul Belmondo has embodied characters that have entered the collective memory of the French.
The one who was part of the “conservatory band” alongside Jean Rochefort, Jean-Pierre Marielle, Bruno Cremer, Pierre Vernier and Michel Beaune also played in the theater, mainly in the 1950s, at the start of his career, and in the 1990s.
Emotion at the Caesars
Made Commander of the Legion of Honor in 2007, Grand Officer of the National Order of Merit in 2017 and Commander of the National Order of Arts and Letters, Jean-Paul Belmondo has received some of the greatest distinctions of the nation.
Awarded the César for best actor in 1989 for Itinerary of a spoiled child, he refused the award. The Académie des Césars did not hold it against him since, in 2017, it dedicated a tribute to him for his entire career. Standing ovation by the profession, he had reacted with emotion.
A year earlier, the Venice Film Festival celebrated all of his work with a Golden Lion of Honor. At the 2011 Cannes Film Festival, a Palme d’honneur was awarded to the actor who, physically diminished, has not appeared in a leading role on the big screen since A man and his dog in 2009.
“I’m not afraid of the end. I had such a happy life, ”he told Corse-Matinin the summer of 2018. During the same interview, he confided that he still “wanted to shoot”.