Jean-Louis Barrault

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Jean-Louis Barrault
Jean Louis Barrault 1952.jpg
Jean-Louis Barrault, photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1952.
Born (1910-09-08)8 September 1910
Le Vésinet, Yvelines, Île-de-France, France
Died 22 January 1994(1994-01-22) (aged 83)
Paris, France
Spouse(s) Madeleine Renaud
(m. 1940-1994)

Jean-Louis Barrault (French: [baʁo]; 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).

Jean-Louis Barrault studied with Charles Dullin in whose troupe he acted from 1933 to 1935. At 25 years of age, he met and studied with the mime Étienne Decroux (who played Baptiste's father in the Carné film). From 1940 to 1946 Barrault was a member of the Comédie-Française, where he directed productions of Paul Claudel's Le Soulier de satin and Jean Racine's Phèdre, two plays that made his reputation.

Over his career, he acted in nearly 50 movies including Les beaux jours, Jenny, L'Or dans la Montagne and Under Western Eyes.[1]

Jean-Louis Barrault and Madeleine Renaud.

In 1940, he married the actress Madeleine Renaud. They founded a number of theatres together and toured extensively, including in South America.

He was the uncle of actress Marie-Christine Barrault and sometime sponsor of Peter Brook. He died from a heart attack in Paris at the age of 83. Jean-Louis Barrault is buried with his wife Madeleine Renaud in the Passy Cemetery in Paris.

Jean-Louis Barrault, Reflections on the Theatre:

"In fact it is the simplest things that are the most tricky to do well. To read, for example. To be able to read exactly what is written without omitting anything that is written and at the same time without adding anything of one's own. To be able to capture the exact context of the words one is reading. To be able to read!"[2]

Barrault from Melinda Camber Porter's Through Parisian Eyes: Reflections on Contemporary French Arts and Culture: "When I wake up in the morning I want to feel hungry for life. Desire is what drives me. When I go to sleep, I feel I have experienced a small death, so that I can wake up in the morning renewed and reborn."

Selected filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Director
1936 Mayerling a student Anatole Litvak
Street of Shadows the crazy customer G. W. Pabst
Beethoven's Great Love Karl van Beethoven Abel Gance
1937 Bizarre, Bizarre William Kramps Marcel Carné
Pearls of the Crown young Napoleon Sacha Guitry and Christian-Jaque
1938 Le puritain Francis Ferriter Jeff Musso
Orage the African Marc Allégret
1942 La Symphonie fantastique Hector Berlioz Christian-Jaque
1945 Children of Paradise Baptiste Deburau Marcel Carné
1948 Man to Men Henri Dunant Christian-Jaque
1950 La Ronde Robert Kuhlenkampf, the poet Max Ophüls
1954 Royal Affairs in Versailles Fénelon Sacha Guitry
1959 The Doctor's Horrible Experiment Doctor Cordelier / Opale Jean Renoir
1961 Le Miracle des loups Louis XI of France André Hunebelle
1962 The Longest Day Father Roulland Ken Annakin
1966 Chappaqua Doctor Benoit Conrad Rooks
1982 That Night in Varennes Nicolas-Edme Rétif Ettore Scola


  1. ^ IMDb list of film appearances
  2. ^ Jean-Louis Barrault, Reflections on the Theatre. London: Rockcliff, 1951

External links[edit]