Michel Serrault

Active - 1953 - 2007  |   Born - Jan 24, 1928 in Brunoy, France  |   Died - Jul 29, 2007   |   Genres - Comedy

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One of France's most respected and prolific actors, Michel Serrault has appeared in over 100 films since making his debut in Henri-Georges Clouzot's Les Diaboliques in 1954. Born January 24, 1928, in Brunoy, Serrault got his start as a singer and member of Robert Dhery's theater troupe. After his debut as Mr. Raymond in Les Diaboliques, he went on to do decades of steady work in films of widely varying quality. Serrault's expressive facial features and sad, hound dog eyes made him ideal for comic character work, so it was perhaps unsurprising that he became best known internationally for playing flamboyant drag queen Albin/Za Za in La Cage aux Folles (1978) opposite Ugo Tognazzi (with whom he was frequently paired).

Serrault spent his entire career in French films and often appeared with Jean Poiret in both film and stage productions. He has received many awards for his work, including a Best Actor C├ęsar for Nelly & Monsieur Arnaud (1995). Even in his advanced age, Serrault has managed to remain vibrant, starring alongside timeless screen siren Jeanne Moreau in The Old Lady Who Wades in the Sea (La Vielle Qui Marchait Dans la Mer) (1991) and working with younger talent like Mathieu Kassovitz in Assassin(s) in 1997. The actor died on July 29, 2007 of cancer in Honfleur, France.

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Factsheet

  • Enfant, il souhaite devenir prêtre, mais après deux ans de séminaire on lui conseille de devenir comédien.
  • En 1944, il s'inscrit au cours de théâtre de la rue Blanche. Deux ans plus tard, il est refusé au Conservatoire.
  • En 1954, il obtient son premier rôle au cinéma dans Ah ! Les belles bacchantes.
  • En 1973, il obtient un succès phénoménal dans La cage aux folles aux côtés de Jean Poiret. Il reprend le rôle de Zaza Napoli dans la version cinématographique, obtenant un succès international.
  • En 1977, il perd sa fille Caroline dans un accident de voiture. Profondément affecté, l'acteur surmonte la tragédie grâce à son ardente foi catholique et à son amour pour la comédie.
  • Il a publié deux livres : une autobiographie, Vous avez dit Serrault ? ainsi qu'un journal, Les pieds dans le plat.