Widely considered a national treasure, Élise Guilbault was one of French Canada's most acclaimed and awarded actresses. Born April 8, 1961 in St-Lin des Laurentides, Québec, Canada, she made her film debut in "Nuits d'Afrique" (1990) and earned a Best Actress Genie nomination for her star-making turn in the lyrical psychosexual drama "Cap Tourmente" (1993). A highly prolific actress, Guilbault won a Best Actress Gémeaux Award for her role in the historical miniseries of dams and families, "Les bâtisseurs d'eau" (Radio-Canada, 1997). Luminous and magnetic onscreen, the actress starred on her own serial, "Emma" (VAT, 2001-04), before achieving her most enduring critical triumph, the lead role in "La femme qui boit" ("The Woman Who Drinks") (2001). Playing Paulette, a woman who seeks escape from her desperately unhappy life through alcohol, only to ultimately destroy herself and those she loves, Guilbault delivered a searing, emotionally raw performance that won her a well-deserved Best Actress Genie, Jutra and Golden Bayard award. She triumphed again with a Jutra-winning star turn as a traumatized doctor in the Ingmar Bergman-influenced drama "La neuvaine" ("The Novena") (2005). Proving she was as gifted with comedy, Guilbault charmed as the hilariously incompetent psychic detective Britany Jenkins on the soap opera parody "Le coeur a ses raisons" ("The Heart Has Its Reasons") (TVA, 2005-07) and won another Gémeaux Awards for her scene-stealing turn on "Les hauts et les bas de Sophie Paquin" ("The Ups and Downs of Sophie Paquin") (Radio-Canada, 2006-09).
By Jonathan Riggs