Philippe Noiret

Philippe Noiret


Birth Place
October 01, 1930
November 23, 2006
Cause of Death


With his slightly stocky frame and a likably average, hangdog face with sad eyes, Philippe Noiret has long been one of the most highly acclaimed and prolific of contemporary French screen actors. Over the years, his exceptional versatility has enabled him to disguise his features in countless ways and to play a wide range of middle-class husbands, fathers and career figures. He had enjoy...

Family & Companions

Monique Chaumette
Married c. 1960.


With his slightly stocky frame and a likably average, hangdog face with sad eyes, Philippe Noiret has long been one of the most highly acclaimed and prolific of contemporary French screen actors. Over the years, his exceptional versatility has enabled him to disguise his features in countless ways and to play a wide range of middle-class husbands, fathers and career figures. He had enjoyed ten successful years with the Theatre Nationale Populaire in Paris (and played one or two bit parts in films) before he made his full-fledged film acting debut in Agnes Verde's "La Pointe Courte" in 1954. Noiret first attracted attention in film for his portrayal of the unhappy uncle in Louis Malle's delightfully frantic farce "Zazie Dans Le Metro" (1960) and, soon thereafter, gave an award-winning performance as a stuffy but quietly vengeful husband in Georges Franju's superb adaptation of "Theresa Desqueyroux" (1962).

Noiret continued to do fine work as another husband of a lovely young wife unhappy with him in "La vie de chateau" (1966) and, partly on the strength of a delightfully slothful performance in Yves Robert's "Very Happy Alexander" (1967), he spent a brief period in Hollywood in the late 1960s. He had made his English-language debut in "Lady L" (1965), but his voice was actually dubbed by director Peter Ustinov. Noiret later did his professional best as a French official-cum-Russian agent in Alfred Hitchcock's atypically boring "Topaz" (1969) and did himself up in drag for George Cukor's sadly compromised misfire "Justine" (1969). His best English-language role came with the war adventure "Murphy's War" (1971), in which his quiet oil engineer blithely stole scenes from star Peter O'Toole.

Upon his return to France, Noiret established himself as one of Europe's most versatile performers, teaming beautifully with Annie Girardot for "La vieille fille/The Old Maid" (1971) and winning a Best Actor Cesar for his moving role as a vengeful Army surgeon in Robert Enrico's "Le Vieux Fusil/The Old Gun" (1975). By now beginning to earn comparisons with the great "perennially middle-aged" character stars of earlier French cinema like Raimu, Michel Simon and Harry Baur, Noiret gave another touching performance in Baur's old role as a father neglectful of his son in a good remake of Julien Duvivier's famous "Poil de Carotte/Carrot Top/Redhead" (1973). He later reteamed memorably with Girardot for Philippe de Broca's romantic "Tendre poulet" (1977), took another stab at English-language work for "Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?" (1978) and appeared in one of the best of his many Italian co-productions, Francesco Rosi's "I Tre Fratelli/Three Brothers" (1980).

The 70s also marked the beginning of Noiret's long-standing association with filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier, one of the most celebrated and important actor-director collaborations in contemporary international cinema. Described by Tavernier as "believable in any social context," Noiret has appeared in nine of the director's films to date, beginning with "The Watchmaker of Saint Paul" (1973), as a man who must deal with his son's flight from the police. He was powerful as the cruelly status-obsessed magistrate in "The Judge and the Assassin" (1976) and was especially memorable as a deceptively bumbling colonial police chief in one of the finest films of his or Tavernier's career, "Coup de Torchon/Clean Slate" (1981). The two continued to work together into the 90s: Tavernier brought Noiret into contact again with Hollywood for his stylish homage to jazz, "'Round Midnight" (1986), and cast him as yet another career solider, this one assigned to count the dead of WWI, in the director's poignant "Life and Nothing But" (1990).

Noiret's iconic status as a veteran gave added resonance to one of his most popular and enjoyable international hits of the 80s, "Les Ripoux/My New Partner" (1984), delightfully pairing his experienced, roguish cop with a dashing, upright novice played by Thierry Lhermitte. (There was, of course, also the inevitable sequel, "My New Partner II" 1990). He continued to work with such distinguished French directors as Claude Chabrol ("Masques" 1987) and Andre Techine ("I Don't Kiss" 1991), and with Italian filmmakers such as Ettore Scola ("The Family" 1987). Beginning in the late 80s, Noiret received some of his widest exposure ever among US audiences with roles which connected his lengthy, distinguished career with the cinema itself and the arts in general. He played the Sicilian projectionist in director Guiseppe Tornatore's sentimental French-Italian ode to cinephilia, "Cinema Paradiso" (1988), and he gave a rich performance as poet, diplomat and political activist Pablo Neruda, giving warm advice on the ways of love and the importance of language to his mail carrier in another arthouse smash, "The Postman (Il Postino)" (1994; released in the USA 1995).



Cast (Feature Film)

3 Amis (2007)
Marcello: A Sweet Life (2006)
Step By Step (2004)
The Dog, the General and the Birds (2003)
Cotelettes, Les (2003)
On Guard (2002)
Le Pique-nique de Lulu Kreutz (2000)
In and Out of Fashion (1998)
Soleil (1997)
Marianna Ucria (1997)
Duke Signoretto
Les Palmes de M. Schutz (1997)
Les Grands Ducs (1996)
Victor Vialat
Fantome avec chauffeur (1996)
Facciamo Paradiso (1995)
Claudia'S Father
Les Milles (1995)
The General
King of Paris (1995)
D'Artagnan's Daughter (1994)
Dead Tired (1994)
Il Postino (1994)
Pablo Neruda
The Troubles We've Seen: A History of Journalism in Wartime (1st and 2nd Journeys) (1994)
Tango (1993)
Max et Jeremie (1992)
Nous Deux (1992)
Zuppa Di Pesce (1992)
Contre l'oubli (1992)
Uranus (1991)
Especially on Sunday (1991)
Antonio ("The Blue Dog")
Rossini, Rossini (1991)
The Palermo Connection (1991)
Hotel Manager
J'embrasse pas (1991)
Faux et usage de faux (1990)
Anatole Hirsch
Ripoux Contre Ripoux (1990)
The Return of the Musketeers (1989)
Life and Nothing But (1989)
Cinema Paradiso (1989)
Il Giovane Toscanini (1988)
La Femme de mes amours (1988)
Chouans! (1988)
La Famiglia (1987)
Masques (1987)
Noyade interdite (1987)
The Gold Rimmed Glasses (1987)
Dr Fadigati
Pourvu que ce soit une fille (1987)
Count Leonardo
L'Homme qui plantait des arbres (1987)
La Femme secrete (1986)
Pierre Franchin
On a vole la cuisse de Jupiter (1986)
Twist Again a Moscou (1986)
Igor Tatiatev
Round Midnight (1986)
L' Ete Prochain (1986)
Les Ripoux (1985)
Le Quatrieme Pouvoir (1985)
Yves Dorget
Fort Saganne (1984)
Souvenirs, Souvenirs (1984)
Aurora (1984)
Dr Andre Feretti
The African (1983)
Le Grand Carnaval (1983)
Etienne Labrouche
Amici miei atto II (1983)
L' Ami de Vincent (1983)
L'Etoile Du Nord (1982)
Edouard Binet
Coup De Torchon (1981)
Lucien Cordier
A Week's Vacation (1980)
Michel Descombes
Pile ou Face (1980)
I Tre fratelli (1980)
Rue du Pied-De-Grue (1979)
Happy Hoboes (1979)
Dear Detective (1978)
The Witness (1978)
Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? (1978)
Jean-Claude Moulineau
La Barricade du point du Jour (1978)
Un Taxi mauve (1977)
Le Desert des tartares (1976)
Le Juge et l'assassin (1976)
Une femme a sa fenetre (1976)
A Woman At Her Window (1976)
Monsieur Albert (1975)
Amici Miei (1975)
Le Jeu avec le feu (1975)
Le Vieux Fusil (1975)
Que la fete commence... (1975)
Philippe D'Orleans
The Old Gun (1975)
Un Nuage Entre les Dents (1974)
Le Secret (1974)
The Clockmaker of St. Paul (1974)
Poil de Carotte (1973)
La Grande Bouffe (1973)
Don't Touch the White Woman! (1973)
The Holes (1973)
Le Serpent (1973)
L' Horloger de St Paul (1972)
Michel Descombes
L' Attentat (1972)
Le Trefle a Cinq Feuilles (1972)
Murphy's War (1971)
[Louis] Brezan
Le Vieille Fille (1971)
Les Aveux les plus doux (1971)
La Mandarine (1971)
Time For Loving (1971)
Give Her the Moon (1970)
Mister Freedom (1970)
Moujik Man
Topaz (1969)
Henri Jarre
The Assassination Bureau (1969)
Monsieur Lucoville
Very Happy Alexander (1969)
Justine (1969)
Tender Scoundrel (1967)
The Night of the Generals (1967)
Inspector Morand
La vie de château (1967)
Woman Times Seven (1967)
Lady L (1966)
Ambroise Gérôme
Thérèse (1963)
Crime Does Not Pay (1962)
Monsieur Hugues
All the Gold In the World (1961)
Zazie Dans Le Metro (1960)
Uncle Gabriel
La Pointe Courte (1954)
GIGI (1948)
Maitre D'Hotel

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

Dead Tired (1994)
The Troubles We've Seen: A History of Journalism in Wartime (1st and 2nd Journeys) (1994)
Contre l'oubli (1992)

Life Events


Made his feature film debut in a bit part as a maitre d'hotel in "Gigi", directed by Jacqueline Audry


Member of the Theatre Nationale Populaire, Paris; appeared in "Richard II", "El Cid", "Don Juan" and "Mary Tudor"


Full-fledged film acting debut, "La Pointe Courte", directed by Agnes Varda


Broadway debut in "Lorenzaccio"


Made English-language film debut in "Lady L", with his dialogue dubbed by Peter Ustinov


Full fledged Hollywood film debut, "Justine"


One-shot acting role in a US TV-movie, "Aurora"


Movie Clip

La Pointe Courte (1954) -- (Movie Clip) Board Of Health! Still featuring only her uncredited actors, the real “habitants de La Pointe-Courte,” director Agnès Varda observes as Anna, Uncle Jules, Grandma and Grandpa confront the sneaky health inspectors about the shellfish catch, early in the New Wave progenitor, La Pointe Courte, 1954.
La Pointe Courte (1954) -- (Movie Clip) Open, Out By The Fig Tree The opening from director Agnès Varda’s first feature, working on location in the neighborhood for which the film is named, in the city of Sète on the Western French Mediterranean coast near where Varda once lived, featuring for now only uncredited actors, “les habitants de La Pointe-Courte,” in La Pointe Courte, 1954.
La Pointe Courte (1954) -- (Movie Clip) He's Never Been Sick A startling sequence from director Agnès Varda, who claimed to have seen almost no feature films at the time, and certainly none of the Italian neorealist titles which might seem pertinent, as tragedy strikes an unmarried mother of seven, all with non-professional actors, working in the fishing village for which the film is named, in La Pointe Courte, 1954.
La Pointe Courte (1954) -- (Movie Clip) We're From Good Stock More exposition in writer-director Agnès Varda’s more conventional story line with her only professional actors, as Parisians Philippe Noiret and Silvia Montfort, whose names are never used, visit his home town on the southern coast, interacting with old friends, La Pointe Courte, 1954.
La Pointe Courte (1954) -- (Movie Clip) Quai Du Mistral Director Agnès Varda, who before making this first feature had worked primarily as a professional photographer, gradually introduces her second story line with her only two paid actors, Philippe Noiret and Silvia Montfort, as a troubled Parisian couple visiting his hometown, shooting on location on the Mediterranean coast, in La Pointe Courte, 1954.
Zazie Dans Le Metro (1960) -- (Movie Clip) I'll Make Their Lives Hell Arrived in Paris, at the apartments of Uncle Gabriel (Philippe Noiret), the title character (Catherine Demongeot) meets the landlord (Hubert Deschamps) and Mado (Annie Fratellini) and Albertine (Carla Marlier), director Louis Malle borrowing New Wave tricks, in Zazie Dans Le Metro, 1960.
Zazie Dans Le Metro (1960) -- (Movie Clip) Are You A Hormosessual? From director Louis Malle’s Eiffel Tower sequence, the title character (Catherine Demongeot), visiting Paris, is more pursued than accompanied by Uncle Gabriel (Philippe Noiret) and their cabbie pal Charles (Antoine Robiot), with deliberate jokes in the subtitles, in Zazie Dans Le Metro, 1960.
Zazie Dans Le Metro (1960) -- (Movie Clip) You Smell Funny Louis Malle’s opening, chat about body odor in the Gare de l’Est, from Philippe Noiret as Parisian Uncle Gabriel, meeting the title character (Catherine Demongeot) and her mother (Odette Picquet), in the director’s comical raid on his New Wave contemporaries, Zadie Dans Le Metro, 1960.
Cinema Paradiso (1989) -- (Movie Clip) Verso La Vita We discover what Fr. Adelfio (Leopoldo Trieste) was rushing off to do, censor the new movie in the Sicilian wartime town, altar-boy Salvatore (Cascio) peeping and Alfredo (Philippe Noiret) projecting (Jean Renoir's The Lower Depths, with Jean Gabin, Suzy Prim and Louis Joudet), early in Giuseppe Tornatore's Cinema Paradiso, 1989.
Cinema Paradiso (1989) -- (Movie Clip) The Saints Just Watch Altar boy Salvatore (Cascio), who will grow up to be a famous director, doing serious business with Fr. Adelfio (Leopoldo Trieste) in WWII Sicily, rescued by his friend, the projectionist Alfredo (Philippe Noiret), angering his mother (Antonella Attili), in Giuseppe Tornatore's Cinema Paradiso, 1989.



Pierre Noiret
Representative for a clothing company.
Lucy Noiret
Frederique Noiret
Assistant director.


Monique Chaumette
Married c. 1960.