Jourdan in trailer for Madame Bovary (1949)
|Born||Louis Robert Gendre
19 June 1921
|Spouse(s)||Berthe Frédérique "Quique" Jourdan
(m.1946–present); 1 child
|Children||Louis Henry Jourdan (1951–1981)|
Louis Jourdan (born Louis Robert Gendre, 19 June 1921) is a retired French film and television actor. He is known for his suave roles in several Hollywood films, including The Paradine Case (1947), Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948), Gigi (1958), The Best of Everything (1959), The V.I.P.s (1963), and Octopussy (1983).
Jourdan was born Louis Robert Gendre, one of three sons born in Marseille, France to Yvonne (née Jourdan) and Henry Gendre, a hotel owner. He was educated in France, Turkey, and Britain, and studied acting at the École Dramatique. While studying he began acting on the professional stage, where he was brought to the attention of director Marc Allegret, who hired him to work as an assistant camera operator on Entrée des Artistes (The Curtain Rises).
World War II
Jourdan was too young for army service and was hired by Julien Duvivier along with his brother Pierre to appear in Untel Père et Fils in Rome. This was interrupted by the declaration of war between France and Italy; he returned to France, made some films and spent a year on a work gang.
Jourdan was ordered to make German propaganda films which he refused to do and fled to join his family in unoccupied France. There he started making movies again, ten films in two years. His father was arrested by the Gestapo; months later he escaped, and joined the French underground along with his wife and three sons. "I was given work to do and I did it", said Jourdan later of his time in the resistance. "I worked on illegal leaflets, helping to print and distribute them." After the liberation of France, he returned to Paris with his wife,[when?] his childhood sweetheart, Berte Frederique ("Quique"). The couple had one son. Jourdan started appearing in French films.
Cited by author James McKay as the "epitome of the suave Continental", Jourdan was spotted in a French film by a talent scout working for David O. Selznick, who offered the actor a contract. His first American film was Selznick's The Paradine Case, a drama directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Gregory Peck. In Hollywood, he became friends with several stars who shared his love of the game of croquet. Jourdan frequently argued with Selznick, who put him on suspension a number of times for refusing roles.
After appearing in Three Coins in the Fountain (1954), Jourdan made his Broadway début in the lead role in Billy Rose's drama, The Immoralist. He returned to the Great White Way for a short run in 1955, and also that year he made his American TV début as Inspector Beaumont in the TV series Paris Precinct. In 1956, he appeared in the film The Swan along with Grace Kelly and Sir Alec Guinness, playing the role of "Dr Nicholas Agi".
During the 1950s, Jourdan acted in several major films, taking the male lead in The Bride Is Much Too Beautiful (1956) with Brigitte Bardot as the lead actress. However, he may be best remembered as the romantic lead with Leslie Caron and Maurice Chevalier in the film version of the novella by Colette, Gigi (1958). This film won nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Jourdan co-starred with Frank Sinatra and Shirley MacLaine in the musical Can-Can (1960).
In later years, Jourdan also appeared on television, including 1977's Count Dracula for the BBC and the 1978 Columbo episode Murder Under Glass. He later played Anton Arcane in the movie Swamp Thing (1982) and in its sequel The Return of Swamp Thing (1989). During the 1970s, Jourdan recorded a series of spoken word albums of the Babar the Elephant books that were released by Caedmon Records. In 1983, Jourdan played the villainous Kamal Khan in the James Bond movie Octopussy. He played the role of Pierre de Coubertin in The First Olympics: Athens 1896, a 1984 TV series about the 1896 Summer Olympics.
On 11 March 1946, Jourdan married Berthe Frédérique (nicknamed "Quique"), with whom he had his only child, Louis Henry Jourdan (b. 6 October 1951), a son who died of a drug overdose on 12 May 1981 and was buried at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, Los Angeles, California.
Louis Jourdan has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6153 and 6445 Hollywood Boulevard.
He retired and lives, at least part-time, with his wife of more than sixty years, "Quique", in the Greater Los Angeles Area. In July 2010, Jourdan was made an Officier de la Legion d'honneur, which he received, accompanied by friends, including Sidney Poitier and Kirk Douglas.
|1939||Le Corsaire (The Pirate)||Film never completed|
|1940||La Comédie du bonheur (Italy: Ecco la felicità) (England Comedy of Happiness)||Fédor|
|1941||Parade en sept nuits||Freddy, le clown|
|Her First Affair (France: Premier rendez-vous)||Pierre Rougemont|
|1942||La Belle aventure||André d'Éguzon|
|1943||Untel père et fils (US: The Heart of a Nation)||Christian||(uncredited)|
|1944||Les Petites du quai aux fleurs||Francis|
|1945||La Vie de Boheme||Rodolphe/Rodolfo|
|Félicie Nanteuil (US: Twilight)||Robert de Ligny|
|1947||The Paradine Case||André Latour, Paradine's Valet|
|1948||Letter from an Unknown Woman||Stefan Brand|
|No Minor Vices||Octavio Quaglini|
|1949||Madame Bovary||Rodolphe Boulanger|
|1951||Bird of Paradise||André Laurence|
|Anne of the Indies||Captain Pierre François La Rochelle|
|1952||The Happy Time||Uncle Desmond Bonnard|
|1953||Paris Precinct||Insp. Beaumont||TV (15 episodes, 1953–1955)|
|Decameron Nights||Giovanni Boccaccio/Paganino/Giulio/Don Bertando|
|Rue de l'Estrapade||Henri Laurent|
|1954||Three Coins in the Fountain||Prince Dino di Cessi|
|1956||The Bride Is Much Too Beautiful||Michel|
|The Swan||Dr. Nicholas Agi|
|1957||Dangerous Exile||Duke Philippe de Beauvais|
|1958||Gigi||Gaston Lachaille||Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
2nd Place – Golden Laurel Award for Top Male Musical Performance
|1959||The Best of Everything||David Savage|
|1961||The Count of Monte Cristo||Edmond Dantès / Comte de Monte Cristo|
|Le Vergini di Roma||Drusco|
|1962||Il disordine||Tom||aka Disorder|
|1963||Irma la Douce||Narrator|
|Mathias Sandorf||Le comte Mathias Sandorf|
|The V.I.P.s||Marc Champselle|
|Made in Paris||Marc Fontaine|
|To Commit a Murder||Charles Beaulieu||aka Peau d'espion|
|1968||To Die in Paris||Colonel Bertine Westrex||TV|
|A Flea in Her Ear||Henri Tournel|
|1969||Fear No Evil||David Sorell||TV|
|Run a Crooked Mile||Richard Stuart||TV|
|1970||Ritual of Evil||David Sorell||TV|
|1973||The Great American Beauty Contest||Ralph Dupree||TV|
|1975||Piange Il Telefono|
|1977||Count Dracula||Count Dracula||TV|
|The Man in the Iron Mask||D'Artagnan||TV|
|Plus ça va, moins ça va||Paul Tango|
|1978||Columbo "Murder Under Glass"||Paul Gerard||TV|
|Silver Bears||Prince di Siracusa|
|1979||The French Atlantic Affair||Captain Charles Girodt||TV|
|1982||Gamble on Love|
|Escape to Love|
|Swamp Thing||Dr. Anton Arcane|
|1983||Double Deal||Peter Sterling|
|1984||Cover Up||George LeMare||TV|
|1984||The First Olympics: Athens, 1896||Pierre de Coubertin||TV|
|1986||Beverly Hills Madam||Douglas Corbin||TV|
|Grand Larceny||Charles Grand|
|1989||The Return of Swamp Thing||Dr. Anton Arcane|
|1992||Year of the Comet||Philippe|
Select Theatre Credits
- Serena Blandish by S.N. Behrman - La Jolla Playhouse, La Jolla, California (8–15 August 1948; with Jennifer Jones, Constance Collier, Mildred Natwick)
- The Immoralist - Royale Theatre, New York (8 February 1954 – 1 May 1954; with James Dean and Geraldine Page)
- Tonight in Samarkand - Morosco Theater, New York (16 February 1955 – 12 March 1955; with Pernell Roberts and Theodore Bikel)
- Caprice adapted by Jean Pierre Aumont - pre Broadway tryouts (spring 1959; with Claude Dauphin)
- On a Clear Day You Can See Forever - Colonial Theater, Boston (October 1965)
- The Marriage-Go-Round by Leslie Stevens - national tour (1970; with Vivian Blaine)
- Private Lives by Noël Coward - national tour (1973; with Barbara Rush)
- The Pleasure of His Company - Arlington Park Theater, Chicago (1975; with Lana Turner)
- 13 Rue de l'Amour - Arlington Park Theater, Chicago (with Leslie Caron); Phoenix Theatre London (1976; with Glynis Johns), Circle in the Square Theater, New York City (16 March 1978 – 21 May 1978; with Patricia Elliott) and Westport County Playhouse (1978; with Taina Elg)
- Present Laughter - John Drew Theater, East Hampton, New York (July 1979)
- 12 Rue de l'Amour - Melbourne and Sydney Australia (July–August 1980; with Leslie Caron)
- Gigi - road tour (1984–85)
- "Louis Jourdan Takes on the Chevalier Role in Gigi and Proves He Remembers It Well", People.com; accessed 18 April 2014.
- Louis Jourdan profile, FilmReference.com; accessed 5 June 2014.
- Louis Jourdan - 20s and 30s, Louisjourdan.net, accessed 26 January 2014.
- "Louis Jourdan's War Service", Lewiston Evening Journal, 5 March 1960, which was reprinted here; accessed 21 January 2014
- McKay, James (26 April 2010). Dana Andrews: The Face of Noir. McFarland. p. 101. ISBN 978-0-7864-5676-5.
- "Jourdan the Glamorous Gaul" by Rex Garner, Cornonet (1960); accessed 21 January 2014.
- Louis Jourdan at the Internet Movie Database
- "Louis Jourdan". nndb.com. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
- "Louis Jourdan Jr. Is Found Dead", NYTimes.com, 14 May 1981; accessed 18 April 2014
- A day with the French Ambassador on YouTube; retrieved 5 September 2010.