Jacques Villeret

Jacques Villeret

Villeret at the 1999 César Awards
Born Mohamed Boufroura
(1951-02-06)6 February 1951
Loches, Indre-et-Loire, France
Died 28 January 2005(2005-01-28) (aged 53)
Évreux, France
Occupation Actor
Spouse(s) Irina Tarassov (1979-1998)

Jacques Villeret (6 February 1951 28 January 2005) was a French actor, best known internationally for his role as François Pignon in the comedy Le Dîner de Cons. During his career, he earned many awards including the prestigious medal and title of Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur.[1]

Life and career

Villeret was born Mohamed Boufroura in Loches, Indre-et-Loire, France, to an Algerian father and a French mother.[2] He studied at the Conservatoire de Paris (CNSAD) in the class of Louis Seigner, the grandfather of Emmanuelle Seigner and Mathilde Seigner. While he was most famous for his role as François Pignon in Le Dîner de Cons; both on the stage and in the film, his other celebrated roles included the extra terrestrial in La soupe aux choux, the autistic Mo in L'été en pente douce, and marshal Ludwig von Apfelstrudel in Papy fait de la résistance.

At the time of making the film Un aller simple directed by Laurent Heynemann – a film about integration and racism and the clash of generations – he said that watching the young actors in the film, Barbara Schulz and Lorant Deutsch, reminded him of the insouciance he had had as a young man with his friends at the Conservatoire. When his career was at its height, with the success of Le Dîner de Cons, a separation with his wife and an enormous financial turnaround to do with tax, plunged him into depression. Villeret turned to alcohol as a source of comfort, and it subsequently became a problem, one which he sought to resolve by isolating himself and hiding away for long periods. In retrospect at this episode in his life, he is quoted to have said: Alcohol is a friend, but a friend who means you harm.[3]

His love of his profession helped to bring his career back from the brink. In an interview in 2001 he spoke of his admiration for performers like Johnny Hallyday and Jacques Brel, who committed totally, and quoted the author Louis-Ferdinand Céline: When I write, I put my balls on the table.[4]

He married Irina Tarassov, an actress and writer, on 26 December 1979. They separated in 1998. (Irina has written about their life together in her book, Un jour, tout ira bien.)[5] Having met Seny, an African widow, she and Jacques were about to start life together in Paris when he died in Evreux following a liver haemorrhage brought about by his previous alcoholism.

Selected filmography

1986 Les Frères Petard Momo Herve Palud
1974 And Now My Love a spectator Claude Lelouch
1975 Serious as Pleasure the policeman Robert Benayoun
The Common Man (film) Gérald Yves Boisset
1976 The Good and the Bad Simon Claude Lelouch
If I Had to Do It All Over Again the real estate broker Claude Lelouch
1977 Another Man, Another Chance a customer Claude Lelouch
1978 Robert et Robert Robert Villiers Claude Lelouch
Mon premier amour Jacques Labrousse Elie Chouraqui
1979 Us Two Uncle Musique Claude Lelouch
1981 Malevil Momo Christian de Chalonge
Les Uns et les Autres Jacques Claude Lelouch
La Soupe aux choux the Alien Jean Girault
1983 Danton François Joseph Westermann Andrzej Wajda
Édith et Marcel Jacques Barbier Claude Lelouch
First Name: Carmen the man at the petrol station Jean-Luc Godard
Waiter! Gilbert Claude Sautet
Papy fait de la résistance Ludwig Von Apfelstrudel Jean-Marie Poiré
1984 Les Morfalous Béral Henri Verneuil
1985 Hold-Up Jérémie Planchet Alexandre Arcady
1987 L'été en pente douce Maurice Leheurt, called Mo Gérard Krawczyk
Keep Your Right Up a man Jean-Luc Godard
1991 The Favour, the Watch and the Very Big Fish Charles, the lingerie expert Ben Lewin
Les secrets professionnels du Dr Apfelglück Martineau
Mayrig Alexandre Henri Verneuil
1992 588, rue Paradis
Le Batteur Du Boléro the drummer Patrice Leconte
1998 Le Dîner de Cons (film) François Pignon Francis Veber
1999 The Children of the Marshland Riton Jean Becker
2000 Les Acteurs Himself Bertrand Blier
2001 A Crime in Paradise Jojo Braconnier Jean Becker
Un aller simple Jean-Pierre Laurent Heynemann
2004 Malabar Princess Gaspard Gilles Legrand




  1. Jacques Villeret - Biography
  2. Jacques Villeret - News & actus people sur Premiere
  3. Paris Match, 14 June 2001
  4. Paris Match 14 June 2001
  5. Irina Tarassov-Villeret, Un jour, tout ira bien, ISBN 2-08-068891-X
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