Philippe Noiret

Philippe Noiret

Philippe Noiret in 2003.
Born 1 October 1930
Lille, Nord, France
Died 23 November 2006(2006-11-23) (aged 76)
Paris, France
Years active 1948–2006
Spouse(s) Monique Chaumette (1958–2006; his death)

Best Actor in a Leading Role
1990 Nuovo cinema Paradiso

Best Actor
1976 Le Vieux fusil
1990 La Vie et rien d'autre'

Philippe Noiret (French pronunciation: [filip nwaʁɛ]; 1 October 1930 23 November 2006) was a French film actor.

Life and career

Noiret was born in Lille, France, the son of Lucy (Heirman) and Pierre Noiret, a clothing company representative.[1] He was an indifferent scholar and attended several prestigious Paris schools, including the Lycée Janson de Sailly. He failed several times to pass his baccalauréat exams, so he decided to study theater. He trained at the Centre Dramatique de l'Ouest and toured with the Théâtre National Populaire for seven years, where he met Monique Chaumette, whom he married in 1962. During that time he developed a career as a nightclub comedian in a duo act with Jean-Pierre Darras, in which he played Louis XIV in an extravagant wig opposite Darras as the dramatist Jean Racine. In these roles they satirized the politics of Charles de Gaulle, Michel Debré and André Malraux.

Noiret's screen debut (1949) was an uncredited role in Gigi. In 1955 he appeared in La Pointe Courte directed by Agnès Varda. She said later - "I discovered in him a breadth of talent rare in a young actor." Sporting a pudding-basin haircut, Noiret played a lovelorn youth in the southern fishing port of Sète. He later admitted : "I was scared stiff, and fumbled my way through the part - I am totally absent in the film." He was not cast again until 1960 in Zazie dans le Métro. After playing second leads in Georges Franju's Thérèse Desqueyroux in 1962, and in Le Capitaine Fracasse, from Théophile Gautier's romantic adventure, he became a regular on the French screen, without being cast in major roles until A Matter of Resistance directed by Jean-Paul Rappeneau in 1966. He became a star in France with Yves Robert's Alexandre le Bienheureux

"When I began to have success in the movies," Noiret told film critic Joe Leydon at the Cannes Film Festival in 1989, "it was a big surprise for me. For actors of my generation—all the men of 50 or 60 now in French movies—all of us were thinking of being stage actors. Even people like Jean-Paul Belmondo, all of us, we never thought we'd become movie stars. So, at the beginning, I was just doing it for the money, and because they asked me to do it. But after two or three years of working on movies, I started to enjoy it, and to be very interested in it. And I'm still very interested in it, because I've never really understood how it works. I mean, what is acting for the movies? I've never really understood."[2]

Noiret was cast primarily as the Everyman character, although he did not hesitate to accept controversial roles, such as in La Grande Bouffe, a film about suicide by overeating, which caused a scandal at Cannes in 1973, and in 1991 André Téchiné cast Noiret in J'embrasse pas (I Don't Kiss), as a melancholy old homosexual obsessed with young male flesh. And in 1987, in The Gold Rimmed Glasses based on Giorgio Bassani's novel about the cramped social life of post-war Ferrara in Italy, he played an elderly and respectable doctor who is gradually suspected of being a covert homosexual with a passion for a beautiful young man (Rupert Everett). Noiret won his first César Award for his role in Vieux Fusil in 1976. His second César came in 1990 for his role in Life and Nothing But.

Noiret appeared in Hollywood-financed films by Alfred Hitchcock (Topaz), George Cukor (Justine), Ted Kotcheff (Who is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?), Peter Yates (Murphy's War) and Anatole Litvak (The Night of the Generals). But he may be best known for his roles as Alfredo in Cinema Paradiso (1988), Pablo Neruda in Il Postino, and Major Dellaplane in Bertrand Tavernier's Life and Nothing But.[3]

By the time of his death from cancer in Paris in 2006, aged 76, Noiret had more than 100 film roles to his credit. He often joked with interviewers about his virtually non-stop work schedule, telling Joe Leydon in 1989: "You never know what will be the success of a film. And it's always comfortable to be making another film when you're reading terrible notices for your last film. You can say, 'Well, that's a pity, but I'm already working on another job.' It helps in your living. You see, if you're only making one film a year, or one film every year and a half, it's hard. Because when it's a failure, what do you do? What do you become? You're dead.”[2]


Selected filmography

Year Title Role Director
1949 Gigi uncredited Jacqueline Audry
1950 Olivia
1952 Agence matrimoniale uncredited Jean-Paul Le Chanois
1956 La Pointe courte (aka The Short Point) Lui Agnès Varda
1960 Zazie dans le Métro Uncle Gabriel Louis Malle
1961 Captain Fracasse Hérode Pierre Gaspard-Huit
1962 Comme un poisson dans l'eau (aka Like a Fish in the Water) Lucien Barlemont André Michel
Le Crime ne paie pas Clovis Hugues Gérard Oury
Thérèse Desqueyroux Bernard Desqueyroux Georges Franju
1964 Les Copains (aka The Buddies ) Bénin Yves Robert
1965 Lady L Ambroise Gérôme Peter Ustinov
A Matter of Resistance Jérôme Jean-Paul Rappeneau
1966 Tendre Voyou Bibi Dumonceaux Jean Becker
Who Are You, Polly Maggoo? Jean-Jacques Georges William Klein
1967 Night of the Generals Inspector Morand Anatole Litvak
1968 Alexandre le bienheureux Alexandre Yves Robert
1969 Mr. Freedom Cameo appearance William Klein
The Assassination Bureau Monsieur Lucoville Basil Dearden
Justine Pombal George Cukor
Clérambard Hector de Clérambard Yves Robert
Topaz Henri Jarré Alfred Hitchcock
1971 Murphy's War Louis Brezon Peter Yates
La Mandarine Georges Édouard Molinaro
1972 La Vieille Fille (aka The Old Maid) Gabriel Marcassus Jean-Pierre Blanc
A Time for Loving Marcel Dutarte-Dubreuilh Christopher Miles
L'Attentat (aka Plot) Pierre Garcin Yves Boisset
1973 La Grande Bouffe Philippe Marco Ferreri
1974 Touche pas à la femme blanche! (aka Don't Touch the White Woman!) General Terry Marco Ferreri
L'Horloger de Saint-Paul (aka The Clockmaker) Michel Descombes Bertrand Tavernier
Les Gaspards Gaspard de Montfermeil Pierre Tchernia
Le Secret (aka The Secret) Thomas Berthelot Robert Enrico
1975 Amici miei (aka My Friends) Giorgio Perozzi Mario Monicelli
Le vieux fusil (aka The Old Gun) Julien Dandieu Robert Enrico
Que la fête commence (aka Let Joy Reign Supreme) Philippe II, Duke of Orléans Bertrand Tavernier
1976 Une Femme à sa Fenêtre (aka A Woman at Her Window) Raoul Malfosse Pierre Granier-Deferre
Le Juge et l'Assassin (aka The Judge and the Assassin) Judge Rousseau Bertrand Tavernier
Il deserto dei Tartari (aka The Desert of the Tartars) The General Valerio Zurlini
Il comune senso del pudore Giuseppe Costanzo Alberto Sordi
1977 The Purple Taxi Philippe Marcal Yves Boisset
Tendre Poulet Antoine Lemercier Philippe de Broca
1978 Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? Moulineau Ted Kotcheff
Le Témoin (aka The Witness) Robert Maurisson Jean-Pierre Mocky
1979 Due pezzi di pane (aka Happy Hobos) Peppe Dorè Sergio Citti
1980 Pile ou Face Louis Baroni Robert Enrico
On a volé la cuisse de Jupiter (aka Jupiter's Thigh) Antoine Lemercier Philippe de Broca
1981 Tre fratelli (aka Three Brothers) Raffaele Giuranna Francesco Rosi
Il faut tuer Birgitt Haas Athanase Laurent Heynemann
Coup de Torchon Lucien Cordier Bertrand Tavernier
1982 L'étoile du nord (aka North Star) Edouard Binet Pierre Granier-Deferre
Amici miei - Atto IIº (aka All My Friends Part 2) Giorgio Perozzi Mario Monicelli
1983 L'Africain Victor Philippe de Broca
L'Ami de Vincent (aka A Friend of Vincent) Albert Palm Pierre Granier-Deferre
1984 Fort Saganne Dubreuilh Alain Corneau
Les Ripoux (aka My New Partner) René Boisrond Claude Zidi
Qualcosa di biondo (aka Aurora) Dr. André Feretti Maurizio Ponzi
1985 L'Été prochain (aka Next Summer) Edouard Nadine Trintignant
Le Quatrième Pouvoir Yves Dorget Serge Leroy
1986 Speriamo che sia femmina (aka Let's Hope It's a Girl) Count Leonardo Mario Monicelli
1987 La famiglia (aka The Family) Jean Luc Ettore Scola
Masques (aka Masks) Christian Legagneur Claude Chabrol
Gli occhiali d'oro (aka The Gold Rimmed Glasses) Doctor Athos Fadigati Giuliano Montaldo
Noyade interdite (aka Widow's Walk) Inspecteur Paul Molinat Pierre Granier-Deferre
1988 Il frullo del passero Gabriele Battistini Gianfranco Mingozzi
Chouans! Savinien de Kerfadec Philippe de Broca
Young Toscanini Dom Pedro II Franco Zeffirelli
1989 The Return of the Musketeers Cardinal Mazarin Richard Lester
Nuovo Cinema Paradiso Alfredo Giuseppe Tornatore
La Vie et Rien D'autre (aka Life and Nothing But) Commander Dellaplane Bertrand Tavernier
1990 Ripoux contre ripoux (aka My New Partner II) René Boisrond Claude Zidi
Dimenticare Palermo (aka The Palermo Connection) Gianni Mucci Francesco Rosi
Uranus Watrin Claude Berri
1991 J'embrasse pas (aka I Do Not Kiss) Romain André Téchiné
Especially on Sunday Amleto Giuseppe Tornatore
Rossini! Rossini! Gioachino Rossini Mario Monicelli
1992 Max et Jérémie Robert Maxendre Claire Devers
1993 Tango François d'Amour Patrice Leconte
1994 Il Postino: The Postman Pablo Neruda Michael Radford
La Fille de d'Artagnan (aka Revenge of the Musketeers) d'Artagnan Bertrand Tavernier
Grosse Fatigue as himself Michel Blanc
1995 Facciamo paradiso Father of Claudia Mario Monicelli
Les Milles the General Sébastien Grall
1996 Les Grands Ducs Victor Vialat Patrice Leconte
Fantôme avec chauffeur Philippe Bruneau-Teissier Gérard Oury
Balthus Through the Looking Glass as himself Damian Pettigrew
1997 Soleil (aka Sun) Joseph Lévy Roger Hanin
Les Palmes de M. Schutz Monsieur Schutz Claude Pinoteau
Le Bossu (aka On Guard) Philippe d'Orléans Philippe de Broca
Marianna Ucrìa Duca Signoretto Roberto Faenza
2002 Step by Step Louis Chevalier Philippe Blasband
Les Côtelettes (aka The Chops) Léonce Grison Bertrand Blier
Père et Fils Léo Michel Boujenah
2003 Ripoux 3 René Boisrond / Jean Morzini Claude Zidi
2007 Trois amis Serano Michel Boujenah


  1. "Philippe Noiret Biography (1930-)".
  2. 1 2, 23 November 2006
  3., 27 November 2006
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