Louis Jourdan

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Felicia Montealegre and Louis Jourdan for recording Tonight in Samarkand , 1955

Louis Jourdan , real name Louis Robert Gendre (born June 19, 1921 in Marseille - † February 14, 2015 in Beverly Hills , California ), was a French actor . He was mainly cast in charming, cosmopolitan roles in Hollywood . The best-known productions of his 50-year film career include Letter from a Stranger , Gigi and James Bond - Octopussy . He was awarded two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame .

life and career

Louis Jourdan was born in Marseille as one of three sons to hotel owner Henry Gendre and his wife Yvonne. Today, 1921 is considered to be the likely year Jourdan was born, even if the majority of the sources have long been from 1919 . He grew up in France, Turkey and England and was trained as an actor at the École Dramatique in Paris . He first appeared on stage as a professional theater actor while studying acting. The director Marc Allégret quickly became aware of the young, handsome Jourdan and cast him in 1939 alongside star Charles Boyer in the film Le Corsaire , which, however, could not be completed due to the beginning of the Second World War . Jourdan's first “real” film appearance was in 1940 in the Franco-Italian comedy La Comédie du bonheur by Marcel L'Herbier . During the Second World War he continued to make films until he was asked to take part in propaganda films by the National Socialists ; he rejected the offer and joined the Resistance , where he helped, among other things, with the printing of illegal leaflets. He continued his film career in unoccupied France, where he became better known in the mid-1940s at the latest.

1947 followed Jourdan an offer from Hollywood , a supporting role in The Paradine Case of Alfred Hitchcock . He played the servant of the blind Mr. Paradin, who has an affair with his wife. Initially under contract with star producer David O. Selznick , attempts were made to build Louis Jourdan into a continental lover as the successor to Charles Boyer . The following films also showed the actor mostly in romantic roles, for example in the adaptation of Madame Bovary alongside Jennifer Jones and in the film adaptation of Stefan Zweig's Letter to a Stranger , directed by Max Ophüls , where he played a light-hearted pianist alongside Joan Fontaine . He was increasingly dissatisfied with the constant repetition of the same role pattern, which is why he went to New York on Broadway in 1954 , where he took on the then provocative leading role of a homosexual in Billy Rose's drama The Immoralist alongside James Dean . In the 1950s, Louis Jourdan also appeared in several international productions: he played the male lead alongside Brigitte Bardot in La Mariée est trop belle and embodied Grace Kelly's fencing teacher in The Swan .

He was remembered for his role as the womanizer Gaston Lachaille in the 1958 film adaptation of Colette's novel Gigi alongside Leslie Caron and Maurice Chevalier . The film received nine Academy Awards , including one for best picture . In 1961 Jourdan played the title role in the Dumas classic The Count of Monte Christo , directed by Claude Autant-Lara . In later years he played increasingly elegant villain roles: in 1974 he starred as Villefort in the remake of The Count of Monte Christo alongside Richard Chamberlain and Tony Curtis , in 1977 in the title role of Count Dracula . He also played gastronomy critic Paul Gérard in the crime series Columbo , who turns out to be a smug murderer. He played two of his most famous rogue roles in the early 1980s: as the malicious millionaire Anton Arcane in the comic book adaptation The Thing from the Swamp (1982) and in the James Bond film Octopussy (1983) as the Afghan prince Kamal Khan, who was the opponent of Roger Moore's James Bond acts. After around 85 film and television appearances, he retired from the film business in 1992 with a major supporting role in The Year of the Comet with Penelope Ann Miller .

He then lived in seclusion in the Los Angeles area until his death. He died of natural causes in February 2015 at the age of 93. His wife Berthe Frédérique, with whom he had been married for a total of 68 years, had died a year earlier. Their son, Louis Henry, was born in 1951 but died in 1981 of a drug overdose . Louis Jourdan has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame - one for television and one for sound recording - at 6153 and 6445 Hollywood Boulevard. In 2010 he was made a member of the French Legion of Honor in the presence of his friends Kirk Douglas and Sidney Poitier .

Filmography (excerpts)


Individual evidence

  1. Louis Jourdan, Star of 'Octopussy,' 'Gigi,' Dies at 93
  2. Information about Louis Jourdan at LouisJourdan.net
  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=is6xSFDK0_Q

Web links