Michel Piccoli

Active - 1945 - 2016  |   Born - Dec 27, 1925 in Paris, France  |   Genres - Drama, Comedy, Comedy Drama

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French leading man Michel Piccoli spent most of his time from 1945 through 1955 on the French stage, primarily with Theatre Babylone and the Reynauld-Barrault Company. He enjoyed nominal film stardom from 1955 onward, though it was not until 1961's Le Doulos that he truly became "box office," specializing in worldly, cynical roles. Like Hollywood's Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, and Gary Cooper, Piccoli was possessed of that rare gift of being able to adapt himself to virtually any kind of material without altering his essential screen persona. And like those aforementioned actors, Piccoli's talents suited the prerequisites of a wide variety of directors: not many contemporary performers can claim to have worked with Alfred Hitchcock, Jean-Luc Godard, Costa-Gavras, Luis Bunuel, and Louis Malle. Piccoli's acting awards include a Cannes Festival prize for 1979's Salto nel Vuoto and a 1982 Berlin Festival honor for Une Etrange Affaire. In 1991, Piccoli once again won international acclaim for his portrayal of an artist suffering from a creative block in La belle noiseuse. He subseqently continued to do steady work in pictures of varying quality, one highlight being Raul Ruiz's 1997 Généalogies d'une Crime, which cast Piccoli as a doctor caught up in a murder mystery. In 1976, Piccoli recorded his remarkable career on the page when he co-wrote a semi-autobiography, Dialogue Egoistes.

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Factsheet

  • Ses deux parents étaient musiciens : son père violoniste et sa mère pianiste.
  • À 15 ans, il commence à prendre des cours de théâtre et monte sur les planches pour la première fois à 18 ans.
  • Il fait ses premiers pas au cinéma en 1945 dans le film Sortilèges, mais c'est Le mépris (1963) qui le révèle au grand public.
  • Il a travaillé avec les plus grands réalisateurs du cinéma français (Renoir, Varda, Godard, Chabrol, Malle...) et a même figuré dans L'étau (1969) d'Alfred Hitchcock.
  • Après avoir incarné le Pape dans Habemus Papam (2011), il a déclaré que le rôle lui avait tellement plu qu'il aurait pu mettre un terme à sa carrière après ce film.
  • Dans Habemus Papam, il parle italien pour la première fois à l'écran. Malgré sa longue carrière en Italie et son nom qui révèle une lointaine origine transalpine, Michel Piccoli a toujours été doublé dans ses films italiens.