Jean Rochefort

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Actor, Comedian
 french, breton
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Jean Rochefort (French: [ʒã ʁɔʃ.fɔʁ]; 29 April 1930 – 9 October 2017) was a French actor whose career spanned more than five decades.

Life and career

Rochefort was born in Paris, France from Breton parents. He was educated at the Lycée Pierre Corneille in Rouen He was 19 years old when he entered the Centre d'Art Dramatique de la rue Blanche. Later he joined the Conservatoire National. After his national service, in 1953, he worked with the Compagnie Grenier Hussenot as a theatre actor for seven years. There he was noticed for his ability to play both drama and comedy. He then became a television and cinema actor. He has also worked as director.

After some supporting roles in Cartouche, Captain Fracasse and in Merveilleuse Angélique, Jean Rochefort played his first big role with Annie Girardot as his wife and Claude Jade as their daughter in Hearth Fires in 1972. In this drama he starred as a man who leaves his family for ten years before returning. Four years after Hearth Fires he was the leading star of the midlife crisis comedy An Elephant Can Be Extremely Deceptive as a man who risks his married life with Danièle Delorme for an affair with Anny Duperey. Thanks to this comedy, Rochefort get a big popularity. In 1972, he starred opposite Pierre Richard as Chief of Counter-Espionage Louis Toulouse in the Yves Robert comedy Le Grand Blond avec Une Chaussure Noire, a role he reprised in the 1974 sequel Le Retour du Grand Blond, also directed by Robert. In 1998, he starred as "Fernand de Morcerf" opposite Gerard Depardieu in the mini-series Le Comte de Monte Cristo.

In his 30s during the shooting of Cartouche, he discovered his passion for horses and equestrianism. He has been a horse breeder since then and now owns Le Haras de Villequoy. His passion led him to become a horse consultant for French television in 2004. He has won two César Awards: in 1976, Best Supporting Actor for Que la fête commence; and in 1978, Best Actor for Le Crabe-tambour.

In the eighties, he became the narrator of the French version of Welcome to Pooh Corner, replacing Laurie Main. This made him popular with children at the time and Disney hired him to record several audio versions of their classic movies. In the nineties, he came back to comedy with Les Grands Ducs where he played alongside two other actors of his generation with a similar career, Philippe Noiret and Jean-Pierre Marielle.

He was to play the title character in The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, after being found as "the perfect Quixote" by director Terry Gilliam. Rochefort learned English just for the part. Unfortunately, amongst other production problems, he began suffering from a herniated disc. Unable to film for months, production was cancelled. A documentary, Lost in La Mancha, was made about the failed production.

In 1960 he married Alexandra Moscwa, with whom he has three children: Marie (1962), Julien (1965) and Guillaume. With actress-filmmaker Nicole Garcia, he also has a son Pierre. Through his second marriage with Françoise Vidal he has two children, Louise (1990) and Clémence (1992).

He died on 9 October 2017 at the age of 87.


  • 1953 : Azouk by Alexandre Rivemale, staging Jean-Pierre Grenier, Théâtre Fontaine
  • 1953 : L'Huitre et la perle by William Saroyan, staging Jean-Pierre Grenier, Théâtre Fontaine
  • 1953 : Les Images d'Épinal by Albert Vidalie, staging Jean-Pierre Grenier, Cabaret La Fontaine des Quatre-Saisons
  • 1954 : Responsabilité limitée by Robert Hossein, staging Jean-Pierre Grenier, Théâtre Fontaine
  • 1954 : L’Amour des quatre colonels by Peter Ustinov, adaptation Marc-Gilbert Sauvajon, staging Jean-Pierre Grenier, Théâtre Fontaine
  • 1957 : Romanoff et Juliette by Peter Ustinov, staging Jean-Pierre Grenier, Théâtre Marigny
  • 1957 : L’Amour des quatre colonels by Peter Ustinov, staging Jean-Pierre Grenier, Théâtre de l'Ambigu-Comique
  • 1958 : Tessa by Jean Giraudoux from the work of Basil Dean and Margaret Kennedy, staging Jean-Pierre Grenier, Théâtre Marigny
  • 1958 : L’Étonnant Pennypacker by Liam O'Brien, staging Jean-Pierre Grenier, Théâtre Marigny
  • 1960 : Champignol malgré lui by Georges Feydeau and Maurice Desvallières, staging Jean-Pierre Grenier, Théâtre Marigny
  • 1960 : Le Comportement des époux Bredburry by François Billetdoux, staging by the author, Théâtre des Mathurins
  • 1960 : Génousie by René de Obaldia, staging Roger Mollien, TNP Théâtre Récamier
  • 1961  : Loin de Rueil by Maurice Jarre and Roger Pillaudin from the work of Raymond Queneau, staging Maurice Jarre and Jean Vilar, TNP Théâtre national de Chaillot
  • 1962 : Frank V by Friedrich Dürrenmatt, staging André Barsacq, Théâtre de l'Atelier
  • 1964 : Cet animal étrange by Gabriel Arout from the work of Anton Tchekhov, staging Claude Régy, Théâtre Hébertot
  • 1965 : La Collection and L’Amant by Harold Pinter, staging Claude Régy, Théâtre Hébertot
  • 1966 : La prochaine fois je vous le chanterai by James Saunders, staging Claude Régy, Théâtre Antoine
  • 1969 : Le Prix by Arthur Miller, staging Raymond Rouleau, Théâtre Montparnasse
  • 1970 : Un jour dans la mort de Joe Egg by Peter Nichols, staging Michel Fagadau, Théâtre de la Gaîté-Montparnasse
  • 1971 : C'était hier by Harold Pinter, staging Jorge Lavelli, Théâtre Montparnasse
  • 1982 : L'Étrangleur s'excite by Éric Naggar, staging Jean Rochefort, Théâtre Hébertot
  • 1985 : Boulevard du mélodrame by Juan Pineiro and Alfredo Arias, staging Alfredo Arias, National Dramatic Center of Aubervilliers
  • 1988 : Une vie de théâtre by David Mamet, adaptation Pierre Laville, staging Michel Piccoli, Théâtre des Mathurins
  • 1988 : La femme à contre-jour by Éric Naggar, staging Jean Rochefort, Théâtre des Mathurins
  • 1988 : Histoire du soldat (The Soldier's Tale) by Igor Stravinsky, staging Jean Rochefort, Théâtre de Paris
  • 1988 : Le Carnaval des animaux musique Camille Saint-Saëns
  • 1989 : Une vie de théâtre by David Mamet, staging Michel Piccoli
  • 1991 : Histoire du soldat (The Soldier's Tale) by Igor Stravinsky, staging Jean Rochefort
  • 1995 : Oraison funèbre sur la mort de Condé by Jacques Bénigne Bossuet, music Jean-Baptiste Lully, direction Hervé Niquet, Royal Chapel of the Château de Versailles
  • 1996 : Le Petit Tailleur music Tibor Tibor Harsányi and Le Carnaval des animaux music Camille Saint-Saëns, Théâtre du Châtelet, Bruxelles
  • 1998 : Art by Yasmina Reza, staging Patrice Kerbrat, with Pierre Vaneck and Jean-Louis Trintignant, Théâtre Hébertot
  • 2004 : Heureux ? sketchs by Fernand Raynaud, with Bruno Fontaine, Comédie des Champs-Élysées
  • 2006 : Mousquetaires de Richelieu, show of the Puy du Fou
  • 2007 : Entre autres, a one-man show with Lionel Suarez playing accordion, in which he pays a tribute to the authors who influenced him, from Roland Barthes to Jean Yanne, notwithstanding Fernandel, Verlaine, Boby Lapointe or Primo Levi, Théâtre de la Madeleine
  • 2007 at the Olympia : where he sang Félicie aussi, a song by Fernandel, during the last three concerts of Vincent Delerm's tour the 30 and 31 of May 2007 and the 1st of June 2007

Audio Book

  • Le Pont de la rivière Kwaï (The Bridge over the River Kwai), by Pierre Boulle


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