Actor Jean-Paul Belmondo, star of ‘Breathless,’ dies at 88

PARIS – Jean-Paul Belmondo, star of the iconic French New Wave film “Breathless,” whose crooked boxer’s nose and rakish grin went on to make him one of the country’s most recognizable primary adult men, has died at 88.

His dying was confirmed Monday by the business office of his lawyer, Michel Godest. No induce of loss of life was offered.

Belmondo’s career spanned 50 percent a century. In the 1960s, he embodied a new type of male film star, just one characterised by pure virility rather than traditional fantastic appears to be like. He went on to show up in far more than 80 films and labored with a wide variety of major French directors, from Francois Truffaut to Claude Lelouch and Jean-Luc Godard, whose 1960 film “Breathless” (“Au Bout de Souffle” in its unique French title) introduced both guys long lasting acclaim.

Belmondo’s vocation choices had been similarly assorted, from acclaimed art property films to critically lukewarm action and comedy films later in his vocation.

His unconventional seems — flattened nose, whole lips and muscular body — permitted him to engage in roles from thug to police officer, thief to priest, Cyrano de Bergerac to an unshakable magic formula agent. Belmondo was also a gifted athlete who frequently did his possess stunts.


French President Emmanuel Macron named the actor a “national treasure” in an homage on Twitter and Instagram, recalling the actor’s panache, his giggle and his versatility. Belmondo was at once a “sublime hero” and “a acquainted determine,” Macron wrote. “In him, we all understand ourselves.”

France bounded into Belmondo manner at information of his death, with praise from politicians of all stripes pouring in. The media played aged film clips that caught the athletic Belmondo in the coronary heart-halting acrobatics he was known to appreciate, from sliding down a rooftop to climbing up a rope ladder from a shifting convertible.

“I’m devastated,” an psychological Alain Delon, another top rated cinema star, said of the demise of his longtime buddy on CNews.

Even Paris law enforcement headquarters provided its condolences for Belmondo, who played a law enforcement officer in various movies, tweeting that “a good motion picture cop has remaining us.”

Belmondo, affectionately recognized as Bebel, was born on April 9, 1933, in the Paris suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine into an creative relatives. His father was renowned sculptor Paul Belmondo and his mom, Sarah Rainaud-Richard, was a painter.


Belmondo played soccer and qualified as a boxer ahead of quitting school at 16. He took up acting in the 1950s at the Paris Conservatory, in which just one of his instructors, Pierre Dux, famously instructed him that his career as a foremost gentleman was doomed because of his appears to be. Persons would burst into laughter if they saw an actress in Belmondo’s arms, Dux reported, according to biographer Bertrand Tessier.

French theater critic Jean-Jacques Gautier was not amazed possibly, when expressing: “Mr. Belmondo will by no means enjoy achievements with his ruffian’s mug.”

At his final conservatory level of competition, the jury failed to give him the recognition he considered he deserved — so he gave the judges an obscene parting gesture.

The star began acting in tiny provincial theaters and caught the eye of aspiring filmmaker Godard in Paris in 1958, who questioned him to look in a limited film. At to start with, Belmondo did not take Godard severely.

“I spoke to my spouse about it, and she mentioned, ‘Go in advance. If (Godard) hassles you, punch him,’” Belmondo advised the Liberation newspaper in 1999.


Belmondo was given his first crucial role by director Claude Sautet in “Classe tous risques” (Think about All Risks) in which he starred together with Lino Ventura in 1960. The exact 12 months, Godard identified as Belmondo back again to look in “Breathless” — which turned one of the breakthrough movies of the French New Wave. The movement, which provided Truffaut, grouped filmmakers of the late 1950s and 1960s who abandoned traditional narrative tactics and were recognised for their temper of youthful iconoclasm.

Belmondo performed opposite American actress Jean Seberg, who appeared as the street-sensible aspiring reporter who, in the film’s critical minute, marketed the Worldwide Herald Tribune on the Champs-Elysees in Paris.

Belmondo occasionally stated he acted in Godard’s 1st movie and would act in his last. But he did not website link his title completely with a person director and labored with most of France’s best filmmakers — and a lot of of Europe’s most well-regarded actresses, which include Jeanne Moreau and Sophia Loren.


Adhering to the large achievement of “Breathless,” Belmondo showed the extensive array of his talent and his flexibility in dramas (“Leon Morin, pretre”), arthouse films (“Moderato Cantabile”) and blockbusters (“Cartouche”).

In “Un Singe en hiver,” a French classic directed by Henri Verneuil in 1962, Belmondo impressed the famous Jean Gabin.

“You won’t explain to me any more: ‘If only I experienced a young Gabin.’ You have him!” Gabin explained to the director about Belmondo.

In Truffaut’s 1969 “Mississippi Mermaid,” Belmondo performed a tobacco farmer and starred opposite Catherine Deneuve. Belmondo and Danish-born Anna Karina played a few on the run in Godard’s 1965 “Pierrot le Fou.” Belmondo also received a Cesar — the French equivalent of an Oscar — for his purpose in Lelouch’s 1988 movie “Itinerary of a Spoiled Child,” his final major accomplishment.

All through the second 50 percent of his profession, Belmondo opted for significant-having to pay roles in commercially profitable motion films. He played a challenging detective in “Cop or Hooligan,” and a Entire world War II ace in “Champion of Champions.”


In the 1980s, Belmondo returned to the stage, his initially love, and won back the doubting critics. His comeback role was in a 1987 Paris output of “Kean,” about an actor famed for his uncontrollable temper and genius.

Belmondo, who experienced recovered from a stroke in 2001, is survived by three young children, Florence, Paul, and Stella Eva Angelina. Yet another daughter, Patricia, died in 1994.

Funeral arrangements weren’t straight away known.


Elaine Ganley contributed to this report.

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