Le Vésinet, Yvelines, Île-de-France, France
Place of Death
Cause of Death
Claim to Fame
Enfants du paradis, Les (1945)
Couple Profile Source
Jean-Louis Barrault (8 September 1910 – 22 January 1994) was a French actor, director and mime artist, training that served him well when he portrayed the 19th-century mime Jean-Gaspard Deburau (Baptiste Debureau) in Marcel Carné's film Les Enfants du Paradis (Children of Paradise, 1945) and part of an international cast in The Longest Day (1962).
Actor/Actress, Other Crew, Writer
Has Detailed Data (New)
Wiki Bio Text
Jean-Louis BarraultBorn: 8-Sep-1910
Birthplace: Le Vésinet, Yvelines, France
Location of death: Paris, France
Cause of death: Heart Failure
Remains: Buried, Cimetière de Passy, Paris, France
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Executive summary: Les Enfants du Paradis
Wife: Madeleine Renaud (m. 1940, until his death)
Active - 1935 - 1988 | Born - Sep 8, 1910 in Vésinet, France | Died - Jan 22, 1994 in Paris, France | Genres - Drama, Comedy, Historical Film, Comedy Drama
Biography by Hal Erickson
French actor Jean-Louis Barrault studied acting with Charles Dullin and pantomime with Etienne Decroux while supporting himself as a bookkeeper and flower salesman. Under the direction of Dullin, Barrault made his stage bow in 1931 in Volpone. Never content with mere performing, Barrault became a director with the stage production Autour d'une mere in 1935, the same year that he made his first film, Les Beaux Jours. Five years later, Barrault joined the Comedie Francaise as actor/director. With many of his Comedie Francaise associates -- including several who'd been marked for arrest by the occupying Nazi troops -- Barrault appeared in his most celebrated film, Les Enfants du Paradis (1945). As mime-actor Deburau, whose unrequited love for enigmatic femme fatale Arletty shapes the destiny of his life, Jean-Louis Barrault delivers a matchless performance that is still being studied in acting and mime schools today. In 1959, Barrault organized his own acting company with his wife, actress Madeleine Renaud; as a result, he all but pulled out of filmmaking, except for cameos in such films as The Longest Day (1962). And in 1968, still the rebel he'd been in the days when he hid French Underground members on the set of Les Enfants du Paradis, Jean-Louis Barrault was removed as director of the Theatre de France when he sided with students and strikers during the May Riots.
Celebrated French stage actor/director/producer Jean-Louis Barrault was born on September 8, 1910. A superlative tragedian and mime, his dedication to both avant-garde and classical plays helped revive the French theatre after World War II, while presenting world premières of works by such playwrights as Samuel Beckett, Eugène Ionesco and Jean Genet. A rebel with many causes, he once hid French Underground members on the set of his greatest film Enfants du paradis, Les (1945).
Barrault initially was a teacher and studied art before turning to the theatre. A gifted student of both Charles Dullin of drama and Etienne Decroux of pantomime, he supported himself as a bookkeeper and flower salesman during those lean years. He made his official film bow in Vagabonds imaginaires (1930) (billed as J.L. Barrault), and took his first curtain call a year later playing a servant in "Volpone" at the Theatre de l`Atelier. While he made quite an impact in numerous classic, romantic films, including Drôle de drame ou L`étrange aventure du Docteur Molyneux (1937), Mirages (1937) and Enfants du paradis, Les (1945) (the last two opposite the exquisite Arletty), the theatre would remain Barrault`s greatest passion, marking his directorial debut with "Les beaux jours" in 1935. Five years later he would join the Comedie Francaise as both actor/director.
In 1936 Barrault met actress Madeleine Renaud, who was a decade his senior, and married her four years later. Together the couple founded many theatres (including the Renaud-Barrault Paris stage company in 1947) and toured extensively, becoming the Lunt and Fontanne of European theatre with such performances in "Christopher Columbus" (1957) (she as his Queen Isabella), "The Misanthrope" (1957) and "The Marriage of Figaro" (1964) among their many collaborations. In November of 1952, Barrault and Renard made daunting Broadway debuts touring in repertory with "Les Fausses Confidences", "Baptiste", "The Trial", "Amphitryon", "Scapin", "Keep Your Eyes on Amelie" and "Hamlet". In 1957, they returned with "Christopher Columbus", "Volpone", "The Misanthrope", "Intermezzo", and others. He received a "special" Tony award for his work.
Barrault`s thin frame, gentle bearing and sensitive features belied a great power and those same talents were utilized magnificently, if sporadically, on film, associating with the greatest of directors including Abel Gance, Georg Wilhelm Pabst, Sacha Guitry, Jean Delannoy, Max Ophüls and Jean Renoir. His initial impression playing Beethoven`s nephew Karl in Un grand amour de Beethoven (1937), led to other fine filming. Arguably his most notable triumph on film was his portrayal of Baptiste in Enfants du paradis, Les (1945), which was based on the life of the mime-actor Jean-Gaspard Deburau, a character he originally suggested to Marcel Carné and Jacques Prévert. The phenomenal success of that film single-handedly revived public interest in the art of pantomime and subsequently influenced the popularity of legendary mime Marcel Marceau. Barrault`s peerless performance in that role is still studied in acting and mime schools today. Elsewhere, he appeared in historical characterizations ranging from that of composer Hector Berlioz to Napoleon Bonaparte.
In later years Barrault served twice as director of the Theatre des Nations and in 1974-1981 was the director of the Theatre d`Orsay. His last film performance at age 78 was in Lumière du lac, La (1988). The beloved 83-year-old actor died of a heart attack in Paris on January 22, 1994; wife Madeleine died in September of that same year at age 94.
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Actor (50 credits)
Miscellaneous Crew (6 credits)
Writer (2 credits)
Director (1 credit)
Thanks (1 credit)
Self (23 credits)
Archive footage (4 credits)
Actor (50 credits) Miscellaneous Crew (6 credits) Writer (2 credits) Director (1 credit)
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