|Born||Louis Robert Gendre
19 June 1921
|Died||14 February 2015
Beverly Hills, California, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Berthe Frédérique "Quique" Jourdan (1946–2014; her death)|
|Children||Louis Henry Jourdan (1951–1981)|
Louis Jourdan (born Louis Robert Gendre; 19 June 1921 – 14 February 2015) was a French film and television actor. He was 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). He played Dracula in the 1977 BBC television production Count Dracula, and played Dr. Sorell in the TV films Fear No Evil and Ritual of Evil.
Jourdan was born Louis Robert Gendre in Marseille, France, in 1921, one of three sons of Yvonne (née Jourdan) and Henry Gendre, a hotel owner. He was educated in France, Turkey, and the UK, and studied acting at the École Dramatique. While there, 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 Resistance. "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 in 1945, he returned to Paris with his childhood sweetheart, Berthe Frederique ("Quique").
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 The Paradine Case (1947) starring Gregory Peck. The movie is a drama directed by Alfred Hitchcock, who did not want Jourdan cast as the valet in the film. Jourdan frequently argued with Selznick, who put him on suspension a number of times for refusing roles.
With Joan Fontaine, Jourdan starred in the Max Ophüls film Letter from an Unknown Woman (1948). David Thomson in 2010 observed how his performance as Stefan Brand altered as the character aged over the extended period of the film's narrative: "I notice how his way of talking has changed. The younger Stefan was boyish, eager and open. Ten years later, the man is filled with self-loathing and fake ironies." It was a "signature performance" from Jourdan, Thomson wrote in Have You Seen?, he was "handsome yet a touch empty; romantic yet not entirely there." John Houseman, the film's producer, "felt he lacked sex appeal, but that shortcoming serves very well as his defect of memory," a significant element of the film's plot. In Hollywood, Jourdan became friends with several stars who shared his love of the game of croquet.
After appearing in Three Coins in the Fountain (1954), Jourdan made his Broadway début in the lead role in the Billy Rose stage adaptation of André Gide's novel, 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 alongside 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).
Jourdan also sang in the Alan Jay Lerner/Barton Lane stage musical, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (1965), at least during its out-of-town tryout at the Colonial Theatre in Boston. He was replaced as leading man by John Cullum before the show reached Broadway.
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 (born 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. Berthe died in 2014.
Jourdan retired and lived, at least part-time, in the greater Los Angeles area. In July 2010, he was made a Chevalier de la Légion 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||Fédor||(Italy: Ecco la felicità) (England Comedy of Happiness)|
|1941||Parade en sept nuits||Freddy, le clown|
|Her First Affair||Pierre Rougemont||(France: Premier rendez-vous)|
|1942||The Beautiful Adventure||André d'Éguzon|
|1943||Untel père et fils||Christian||(uncredited) (US: The Heart of a Nation)|
|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||Le Vergini di Roma||Drusco|
|The Count of Monte Cristo||Edmond Dantès / Comte de Monte Cristo|
|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 Country 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)
- Hutchings, David (January 14, 1985). "Louis Jourdan Takes on the Chevalier Role in Gigi and Proves He Remembers It Well". People 23 (2). Retrieved 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. Retrieved 21 January 2014. reprinted
- McKay 2010, p. 101.
- Thomson 2002, p. 448.
- Garner, Rex (1960). "Jourdan the Glamorous Gaul". Coronet. Retrieved 21 January 2014.
- Thomson, David (28 January 2010). "Why you should see Max Ophüls's reissued 1948 classic". The Guardian.
- Thomson 2008, p. 466.
- Louis Jourdan at the Internet Movie Database
- "Louis Jourdan". nndb.com. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
- "Louis Jourdan Jr. Is Found Dead". The New York Times. 14 May 1981. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
- Dagan, Carmel (February 15, 2015). "Louis Jourdan Dead; French actor starred in Octopussy, Gigi - Variety". Variety. Retrieved February 15, 2015.
- A day with the French Ambassador on YouTube; retrieved 5 September 2010.
- "Louis Jourdan reçoit la Légion d'honneur". OuestFrance.fr (in French). 26 January 2015. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
- McKay, James (26 April 2010). Dana Andrews: The Face of Noir. Jefferson, N.C: McFarland. p. 101. ISBN 978-0-7864-5676-5.
- Thomson, David (2008). Have You Seen? A Personal Introduction to 1,000 Films. London: Alolen Lane. p. 466. ISBN 0307264610.
- Thomson, David (2002). The New Biographical Dictionary of Film. New York & London: Knopf & Little, Brown. p. 448. ISBN 0307271749. ISBN 978-0307271747.
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