A well-loved actor in his native France for five decades, the saturnine-faced Jean Rochefort was a staple of light comedies and dramas alike, playing reserved men with hidden wells of emotion in "The Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe" (1972), "Pardon Mon Affaire" (1976) and "The Hairdresser's Husband" (1990). Born Jean Raoul Robert Rochefort on April 29, 1930 in Paris, France to wealthy parents of Breton descent, he began to study acting at the Centre d'Art Dramatique de la rue Blanche in 1949 before joining the National Conservatory of Dramatic Art, where his fellow students included Jean-Paul Belmondo and director Claude Rich. He began acting professionally after completing his national service in 1953, working primarily on stage at first before branching into film and television. Rochefort first drew attention with a supporting role opposite Jean-Paul Belmondo in the adventure film "Cartouche" (1962), and was soon a staple of costumed swashbuckler dramas, including the popular "Angelique" (1964), with Michele Mercier, and two of its four sequels. He finally earned his breakout roles in 1972, first in "Hearth Fires" as a lawyer who returned to his family after a ten-year absence. Though 41 at the time, he played a man much older than himself, and to aid in the transformation, grew a substantial mustache that would become his trademark for the remainder of his career. That same year, he also starred in in Yves Robert's "The Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe" (1972), playing a police chief who fabricates a drug smuggling case based around a stranger (Pierre Richard) picked at random to distract from efforts to discredit Rochefort. A critical and box office success in both Europe and abroad, it helped to mint Rochefort as a leading man in French cinema, especially in light comedies and often in collaboration with Robert, who directed him in "The Return of the Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe" (1974), the Golden Globe-nominated sex farce "Pardon Mon Affaire" (1976) and "Courage - Let's Run" (1980), which earned Rochefort a Cesar nomination for Best Actor. Rochefort also enjoyed a successful collaboration with Bertrand Tavernier, whose 1976 historical drama "Let Joy Reign Supreme" brought Rochefort a Cesar for Best Supporting Actor as an atheist priest during the reign of Louis XV. Rochefort would later star in films by such acclaimed directors as Luis Buñuel ("The Phantom of Liberty," 1974), Claude Chabrol ("Dirty Hands," 1975) and Pierre Schoendoerffer, whose 1977 war drama "The "Drummer-Crab") won Rochefort the Cesar for Best Actor. In 1978, he made his English-language debut in Ted Kotcheff's "Who is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe," but would remain faithful to European cinema throughout the decade, though largely in unremarkable features. Rochefort's career underwent a revival in 1990 through collaborations with Patrice Leconte, including the international hits "The Hairdresser's Husband" (1990) "Ridicule" (1996) and "The Man on the Train" (2002) with fellow French icon Johnny Hallyday, and an appearance with an all-star European cast in Robert Altman's "Pret-a-Porter" (1994), set in the world of Paris fashion. In 2000, he began work on "The Man Who Killed Don Quixote," a proposed re-imagining of the Miguel Cervantes novel by Terry Gilliam; the production was plagued by disasters, including an injury to Rochefort that required him to leave the production. He soon recovered and returned to steady work as a character actor in films like "Hell" (2005), based on a script by Krzysztof Kieslowski, Guillame Canet's hit thriller "Tell No One" (2006) and "The Artist and the Model" (2012), which earned him a Best Actor nod at the Goya Awards. While promoting the latter film, Rochefort announced that he was retiring from acting, due largely to the quality of scripts offered to him, all of which, he claimed, concerned "how to get rid of grandpa." Despite this, Rochefort continued to act, and gave his final appearance in "Floride" (2015), Philippe Le Guay's drama about an elderly man who enlists his daughter in an impulsive trip to Florida. Hospitalized in early October 2017, Rochefort died on October 9 of that year at the age of 87; his passing, and significance to French film, was confirmed by that country's cultural minister, Françoise Nyssen, who described him as an "elegant, endearing and beloved actor."
Cast (Feature Film)
Music (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Starred opposite Philippe Noiret in "L' Horloger de St Paul/The Watchmaker of Saint-Paul"; first film with helmer Bertrand Tavernier (his feature directing debut), first of many collaborations with Noiret
Starred in the sequel "Pardon Mon Affaire, Too", again directed by Robert
Credited as song performer on "Des Enfants Gates/Spoiled Children"
Starred as Dr Victor Frankenstein in the Gothic comedy "Frankenstein 90"
Cast in the french film, "Je suis le seigneur du château/I'm the King of the Castle"
Portrayed the title character in "Le Mari de la coiffeuse/The Hairdresser's Husband"
Starred in the french film, "Ridicule"
Co-starred in the French comic-drama, "L'homme du train/The Man on the Train"
Appeared in the British comedy "Mr. Bean's Holiday" starring Rowan Atkinson
Played Jean in "I Always Wanted to Be a Gangster"
Appeared in TV movie "Le grand restaurant"