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Creator / Jean-Paul Belmondo

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"I would say I've done everything I wanted to."
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Jean-Paul Charles Belmondo (April 9, 1933 - September 6, 2021) was a French actor of Italian descent.

The son of sculptor Paul Belmondo, he started a boxing career before shifting to acting. His rise to national and international stardom came with French New Wave vehicles such as Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless and Pierrot le Fou as well as dramas such as Jean-Pierre Melville's Léon Morin, Priest and Magnet of Doom and Henri Verneuil's A Monkey in Winter. He would remain a very successful leading man in French cinema throughout The '60s, The '70s and The '80s and became one of the highest-grossing actors of all time at the French box office, only equaled by the likes of Alain Delon (his longtime friend), Louis de Funès or Gérard Depardieu.

His crowd-pleasing shift as soon as the early 1960s and even moreso in the 1970s was much to the chagrin of critics who held his New Wave/more auteurist roles in very high regard, but pleasing crowds was just what he loved doing. He most often played Anti Heroes in crime films or hammed it up as dashing Aces, Lovable Rogues, Casanovas, Cowboy Cops or any role falling in-between, usually with heavy stunt work (which he tended to perform himself). Such characters tended to be showy, very sarcastic and very quotable and made him the undisputed quintessential Action Hero of French cinema for over three decades. He won the César Award for Best Actor in 1989 for his role in Claude lelouch's Itinerary of a Spoiled Child, but didn't show up at the ceremony, treating it like a invokedConsolation Award.

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His career slowly declined starting in the late 1980s. He suffered a stroke in 2001 and retired from acting, only returning for one last role on the big screen in 2009. He passed away at age 88 on September 6, 2021 and received a national homage at the Invalides in Paris.

He was the father of four, including Patricia (1953-1993, died in a house fire), Paul Alexandre (born in 1963, became a race car pilot), Florence (born in 1960) and Stella (born in 2003).


    Filmography 

  • Breathless (1960) as Michel Poiccard
  • Two Women (La Ciociara, 1960) as Michele
  • Une femme est une femme (1961) as Alfred
  • Léon Morin, Priest (1961) as Léon Morin
  • A Monkey in Winter (1962) as Gabriel Fouquet
  • Cartouche (1962) as Louis Dominique Bourguignon a.k.a. "Cartouche"
  • Le Doulos (1963) as Silien
  • Magnet of Doom (1963) as Michel Maudet
  • That Man from Rio (1964) as Adrien Dufourquet
  • Weekend at Dunkirk (1964) as Julien Maillat
  • Pierrot le Fou (1965) as Ferdinand Griffon a.k.a. "Pierrot"
  • Chinese Adventures in China (1965) as Alexandrine Pinardel
  • Is Paris Burning? (1966) as Yvon Morandat
  • Casino Royale (1967) as a French legionnaire
  • The Brain (1969) as Arthur Lespinasse
  • Mississippi Mermaid (1969) as Louis Mahé
  • Borsalino (1970) as François Capella
  • La Scoumoune (1972) as Roberto Borgo aka "La Scoumoune"
  • Le Magnifique (1973) as François Merlin / Bob Saint-Clar
  • Stavisky (1974) as Alexandre Stavisky
  • Peur sur la ville (1975) as Jean Letellier
  • Body of my Enemy (1976) as François Leclercq
  • Un sorriso, uno schiaffo, un bacio in bocca (1976)
  • Hunter Will Get You (1976) a.k.a. L'Alpagueur, as Roger Pilard
  • Cop or Hood (1979) as divisional commissioner Stanislas Borowitz
  • Le Guignolo (1980) as Alexandre Dupré
  • Le Professionnel (1981) as Josselin "Joss" Beaumont
  • Ace of Aces (1982) as Georges "Jo" Cavalier
  • Le Marginal (1983) as Commissionner Philippe Jordan
  • The Vultures (1984) as Pierre Augagneur
  • Hold-up (1985) as Grimm
  • The Loner (1987) as Stan Jalard
  • Itinerary of a Spoiled Child (1988) as Sam Lion
  • Les Misérables (1995) as Henri Fortin / Jean Valjean
  • Half a Chance (1998) as Léo Brassac
  • Maybe (1999) as Ako
  • A Man and His Dog (2009) as Charles

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Tropes & Trivia in his works:

  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting:
  • Definite Article Title: Many of his most popular films' titles start with "le" (French masculine translation of "the").
  • Fan Nickname: He is often nicknamed "Bébel" in France.
  • Leslie Nielsen Syndrome: He had a noticeable comedic shift in his late 1960s roles which would intensify in the mid-1970s with Le Magnifique, although he never stopped playing dramatic roles alongside them.
  • Lovable Rogue: A strong contender for the quintessential example in French cinema as the thieves and bank robbers he played, usually in comedies, were often either The Charmer (Cartouche) or hammy goofballs (L'Incorrigible, Le Guignolo, Hold-up).
  • No Stunt Double: A prime example, as he did much of the body stunt work in his films on his own between 1962 and 1987, which caused him plenty of injuries. For car stunts as well, though he would sometimes leave it to his stuntman friend Rémy Julienne when closeups were not needed.
  • Production Posse:
    • Frequently worked with directors Jean-Pierre Melville, Philippe de Broca, Henri Verneuil and Georges Lautner.
    • His Lautner films (and some others) often had dialogues written by Michel Audiard.
    • Some of his vehicular stunts were performed and staged by Rémy Julienne.
  • Smoking Is Cool: From Breathless all the way to his early 1980s roles, his characters smoked very often, with a few Cigar Chompers in the lot.
  • Those Two Actors:
    • He co-starred with Claudia Cardinale in Le mauvais chemin, Cartouche and La Scoumoune. They both appeared in the 1976 Italian comedy Anthology Film Un sorriso, uno schiaffo, un bacio in bocca, although they're not seen together.
    • Played alongside his longtime friend and fellow superstar Alain Delon in Sois belle et tais-toi, Les Amours célèbres, Is Paris Burning?, Ho!, Borsalino and 1 Chance sur 2.
    • Belmondo also played alongside Michel Beaune in Le Corps de mon ennemi, Cop or Hood, Le Professionnel and Joyeuses Pâques.
    • Played three times with singer and actress Marie Laforêt, in Cop or Hood, Les Morfalous and Joyeuses Pâques.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Belmondo was supposed to star in Barracuda, a film about a Hostage Situation in Chad. Creative differences and Belmondo's commitment to Le Professionnel killed the project, although Le Professionnel retained the françafrique thing (French meddling in post-colonial African politics).
    • It was announced in 2018 that he would return in a sequel to 1988's Itinerary of a Spoiled Child. He passed away in 2021 without the project having had time to materialize.

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