French actor Jean-Louis Trintignant dies at the age of 91

Voice recognizable among all, magnetic presence tinged with melancholy: Jean-Louis Trintignant, who died on Friday at the age of 91, led an immense theater and cinema career for half a century, from “And God … created woman” to ” Love”.

Winner of cinema history with Claude Lelouch’s “A Man and a Woman” – Golden Palm 1966, he won the Interpretation Prize in Cannes in 1969 for “Z” by Costa Gavras and the César for “Love” (2012) by Michael Haneke.

This perfectionist was also a worried and reserved man who said he had had suicidal temptations: “I admit I’ve never been very happy”.

This pessimism accompanies him long before the death of his daughter Marie, with whom he was very close. She died in 2003 after being beaten by her companion, the singer Bertrand Cantat.


A few months earlier, father and daughter had performed Apollinaire’s “Poèmes à Lou” on stage as a duo.

This tragic death will not let him go: “I could have ended my life at that moment”. Urged on by his relatives, he returned to the stage and found “therapy” in poetry and theatre. The boards, his “real job,” he told the AFP news agency. “We make films a bit out of vanity”, “to stop being shy”.

Born on December 11, 1930 in Piolenc in the Vaucluse department, the son of an industrialist grew up hard. As a shy young man, he took comedy lessons from Charles Dullin in Paris.

He began on stage in Schiller’s Marie Stuart in 1951 and on screen in Christian-Jaque’s Wenn alle Kerle der Welt (1956).

In the same year she shoots alongside Brigitte Bardot (“And God…Created Woman”, Vadim). Much has been said about his affair with “BB”.

After returning from traumatic military service in Algeria, the actor leaves “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” (Vadim). His nervous and sensitive game seduces.

With his romantic love composition in “A Man and a Woman”, he becomes the most touring actor alongside Anouk Aimée, like Belmondo and Delon. Altogether he will act in around 120 films…

He has a penchant for ambiguous, impenetrable, disturbing characters. He feels just as comfortable in mainstream film (“Brennt Paris?”, René Clément) as in the avant-garde (“L’homme qui ment”, by Alain Robbe-Grillet, worth the Silver Bear for Best Actor in Berlin) or political, like “Z”.

He also tours Italy, notably in “Le Fanfaron” by Dino Risi and “Le Conformiste” by Bernardo Bertolucci.

Jean-Louis Trintignant himself directed two films, “A Busy Day” and “The Lifeguard”, without much success.

In the 1980s, the nonconformist turned his career back to the theater. That doesn’t stop him from shooting some big roles in cinema, in “See how the men fall” or “Three Colors: Red”, where he plays a taciturn former judge.

After the death of his daughter, he retired from film sets for nearly ten years before returning in 2012’s Haneke’s Amour, in which he plays an octogenarian confronted with the slow agony of his wife, played by Emmanuelle Power enters Riva.

He then found Haneke for the role of the suicidal old man in Happy End in Cannes 2017 competition, the year he offered a final show reading poems by Prévert, Vian and Desnos then in Paris on tour.

He came full circle, finding Claude Lelouch and his partner Anouk Aimée for The Finest Years of a Life in 2019, following A Man and a Woman 53 years later.

Married three times, he married the actress Stéphane Audran and then the director Nadine Marquand (Trintignant) with whom he had three children, Marie, Pauline (died when she was a baby) and Vincent. Since her divorce, the motorsport enthusiast has shared the life of racing driver Marianne Hoepfner.

Jean-Louis Trintignant lived near Uzès (Gard) for thirty years, not far from his beloved vines.

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