A film legend has gone: Jean-Paul Belmondo has died
Steph Deschamps / September 7, 2021
Actor Jean-Paul Belmondo, a sacred monster of French cinema, died Monday at his home in Paris at the age of 88, his lawyer told AFP. He had been very tired for some time. He died quietly, said his lawyer, Michel Godest. The man nicknamed Bébel has appeared in 80 films and leaves behind unforgettable roles.
Jean-Paul Belmondo was born on April 9, 1933 in Neuilly-Sur-Scène, France. After starting a career as a sportsman in boxing, he embarked on comedy and made his father, Paul Belmondo, proud. My father was patient, always calm. I remember that wonderful moment, when I was 5 or 6 years old, when he was shaping my bust. I wanted to be an actor when I was young, but I didn't dare to say it. At school, I didn't screw anything up. I don't even have the primary school certificate. My father ended up saying to me, 'But what do you want to do?' When I answered actor, he was very happy, he explains to the Parisian. In 1950, he went on stage for the first time. Two years later, he entered the Conservatoire national supérieur d'art dramatique. A talent is born!
His film career began in 1958 with the film Be beautiful and shut up. On this set, he met Alain Delon for the first time. Belmondo's talent exploded in the public eye in the 1960s when he participated in the film À bout de souffle. This is the first film that brought me fame. I did not imagine that it would be a success. And Jean Seberg was like me. We were shooting without lights, without anything. But the text was good. In the end, Seberg told me, 'He won't release this movie, he says. The man will then become one of the emblematic faces of the 1970s and 1980s with the films The Professional, Happy Easter or The Marginal which all met with success.
While he seemed unstoppable, Belmondo suffered a cardiovascular accident in 2001. After 13 months of easy paralysis, he escaped unscathed, or almost. This accident weakened him on his right side, so that his leg and arm are, in a way, invalid. This physical weakness forced him to put his professional career on hold. Nevertheless, the 7th art still makes his foot. In 2009, he returned to the big screen with the feature film A Man and His Dog.
In February 2015, at the age of 82, he decided to retire. Now I'm resting! No return to the cinema or the theatre. No no no. I enjoy life, he says.
On the heart side, the actor is truly a charmer! Bébel is a bit like the sex symbol of his time. It was at winter sports in Switzerland that he met Élodie Constant, his first wife, with whom he had three children: Patricia (1954), Florence (1960), and Paul (1963). Then, from 1966 to 1972, Ursula Andress succumbed to the charm of the star, at the peak of her popularity. Soon after, he fell into the arms of Natty Tardi-vel, a ballet dancer, with whom he married and had a daughter, Stella, in 2003. Divorced again in 2008, the actor appears alongside Barbara Gandolfi. The couple separated in 2012.
In any case, Jean-Paul Belmondo will forever remain an emblematic figure of the French cinematographic landscape. His impressive career undeniably commands respect.