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Robert Hossein

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Robert Hossein
Robert Hossein in 2013
Born(1927-12-30)30 December 1927
Paris, France
Died31 December 2020(2020-12-31) (aged 93)
Occupation(s)Actor, film director
Years active1948–2019
(m. 1955; div. 1960)
Caroline Eliacheff
(m. 1962; div. 1964)
Candice Patou
(m. 1976)

Robert Hossein (30 December 1927 – 31 December 2020) was a French film actor, director, and writer. He directed the 1982 adaptation of Les Misérables and appeared in Vice and Virtue, Le Casse, Les Uns et les Autres and Venus Beauty Institute. His other roles include Michèle Mercier's husband in the Angélique series, a gunfighter in the Spaghetti Western Cemetery Without Crosses (which he also directed and co-wrote), and a Catholic priest who falls in love with Claude Jade and becomes a communist in Forbidden Priests.

Cinematic career[edit]

Hossein started directing films in 1955 with Les Salauds vont en enfer,[1] from a story by Frédéric Dard whose novels and plays went on to furnish Hossein with much of his later film material. Right from the start Hossein established his characteristic trademarks: using a seemingly straightforward suspense plot and subverting its conventions (sometimes to the extent of a complete disregard of the traditional demand for a final twist or revelation) in order to concentrate on ritualistic relationships.[citation needed] This is the director's running preoccupation which is always stressed in his films by an extraordinary command of film space and often striking frame compositions where the geometry of human figures and set design is used to accentuate the psychological set-up of the scene. The mechanisms of guilt and the way it destroys relationships is another recurring theme, presumably influenced by Hossein's lifelong interest in the works of Dostoyevsky.[citation needed]

In 1967, he was a member of the jury of the 5th Moscow International Film Festival.[2] His 1982 film Les Misérables was entered into the 13th Moscow International Film Festival where it won a Special Prize.[3]

Hossein with Anthony Quinn in Belgrade in 1969.

Although Hossein had some modest international successes with films like Toi, le venin and The Vampire of Düsseldorf, he was much singled out for scorching criticism by the critics and followers of the New Wave for the unashamedly melodramatic frameworks of his films. The fact that he was essentially an auteur director with a consistent set of themes and an extraordinary mastery of original and unusual approaches to staging his stories, was never appreciated.[citation needed] He was not averse to trying his hand at widely different genres and was never defeated, making the strikingly different Spaghetti Western Cemetery Without Crosses and the low-budgeted but daringly subversive period drama I Killed Rasputin.[citation needed] However, because of the lack of wider success and continuing adverse criticism, Hossein virtually ended his film directing career in 1970, having concentrated on theatre where his achievements were never questioned, and subsequently returning to film directing only twice. With two or three exceptions, his films remain commercially unavailable and very difficult to see.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Robert Hossein's grandfather was born in Azerbaijan.[4][better source needed] His father was André Hossein, a composer of Iranian Azerbaijani origin,[5][6][7][better source needed] and his mother was Anna Mincovschi, a Jewish comedy actress from Soroca (Bessarabia).[8][9][10][11] He was married three times: first to Marina Vlady (then Marina Poliakoff; on 23 December 1955, they had two sons, Pierre and Igor), later on 7 June 1962, to Caroline Eliacheff, daughter of Françoise Giroud (they had a son, Nicholas, who became rabbi Aaron Eliacheff).[8] She was fifteen at the time and he was 34. In 1973, he dated for a short while Michèle Watrin, before she died the following year in a car accident. In 1976, he married actress Candice Patou, with whom he had a son.[citation needed]


In 1971, Hossein was baptized in the Roman Catholic Church.[12] According to an article written by Emannuel Peze, Hossein experienced a conversion to Catholicism in 1971 during a visit to the Marian apparition at San Damiano in Lombard, Italy.[13]

In 2007, he presented a play entitled Do Not be Afraid (N'ayez pas peur) of the life of Pope John Paul II.[14] He had a special devotion to Saint Therese of Lisieux.[15]


Hossein died of COVID-19 on 31 December 2020, one day after his 93rd birthday, during the COVID-19 pandemic in France.[16]

Selected filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Director
1948 The Lame Devil a guest Sacha Guitry
To the Eyes of Memory uncredited Jean Delannoy
1954 Quay of Blondes Chemise rose Paul Cadéac
1955 The Infiltrator Jo Pierre Foucaud
Rififi Rémy Grutter Jules Dassin
The Wicked Go to Hell Fred Robert Hossein
1956 Crime and Punishment René Brunel Georges Lampin
1957 No Sun in Venice (Sait-on jamais...) Sforzi Roger Vadim
Méfiez-vous fillettes [fr] Raven Yves Allégret
1959 Toi, le venin Pierre Menda Robert Hossein
The Road to Shame Pierre Rossi Édouard Molinaro
Du rififi chez les femmes Marcel Point-Bleu Alex Joffé
The Verdict Georges Lagrange Jean Valère
Double Agents Lui Robert Hossein
1960 Riff-Raff Ed Dawson Maurice Labro
Les Scélérats Jess Rooland Robert Hossein
1961 La Menace [fr] Savary Gérard Oury
Madame Sans-Gêne François-Joseph Lefebvre Christian-Jaque
1962 Girl on the Road Edouard Jacqueline Audry
Le Repos du guerrier Renaud Sarti Roger Vadim
1963 Le Meurtrier Inspecteur Corby Claude Autant-Lara
Vice and Virtue Schorndorf Roger Vadim
Chair de poule Daniel Boisset Julien Duvivier
1964 Banco à Bangkok pour OSS 117 Dr Sinn André Hunebelle
Les Yeux cernés Franz Robert Hossein himself
Angélique, Marquise des Anges Jeoffrey de Peyrac Bernard Borderie
1965 The Vampire of Düsseldorf Peter Kürten Robert Hossein himself
The Dirty Game Dupont Christian-Jaque and others
Marco the Magnificent Prince Nayam Denys de La Patellière and Noël Howard
God's Thunder Marcel Denys de La Patellière
1966 Madamigella di Maupin Capitain Alcibiade Mauro Bolognini
Angelique and the King Jeoffrey de Peyrac Bernard Borderie
The Other Truth Pierre Montaud, the Advocate Christian-Jaque
Brigade antigangs Inspector Le Goff Bernard Borderie
La Longue Marche Carnot Alexandre Astruc
1967 I Killed Rasputin Serge Hukhotin Robert Hossein himself
Lamiel Valber Jean Aurel
Untamable Angelique Jeoffrey de Peyrac Bernard Borderie
1968 Angelique and the Sultan Jeoffrey de Peyrac Bernard Borderie
The Private Lesson Enrico Fontana Michel Boisrond
A Little Virtuous Louis Brady Serge Korber
1969 The Battle of El Alamein Erwin Rommel Giorgio Ferroni
Cemetery Without Crosses Manuel Robert Hossein himself
Life Love Death as himself Claude Lelouch
The Scarlet Lady Julien Auchard Jean Valère
Nell'anno del Signore Leonida Montanari Luigi Magni
1970 Le Temps des loups "Dillinger" Sergio Gobbi
Point de chute the boss Robert Hossein himself
1971 The Lion's Share Maurice Ménard Jean Larriaga
The Burglars Ralph Henri Verneuil
1972 Un meurtre est un meurtre [fr] Jean Carouse Étienne Périer
1973 Don Juan, or If Don Juan Were a Woman Louis Prévost Roger Vadim
Forbidden Priests Jean Rastaud Denys de La Patellière
1981 Les Uns et les Autres Simon Meyer / Robert Prat Claude Lelouch
Le Professionnel Inspector Rosen Georges Lautner
1982 Le Grand Pardon [fr] Manuel Carreras Alexandre Arcady
Les Misérables not credited as actor Robert Hossein himself
1986 A Man and a Woman: 20 Years Later as himself Claude Lelouch
1995 Les Misérables the master of ceremonies Claude Lelouch
1997 Wax Mask Boris Volkoff Sergio Stivaletti
1999 Venus Beauty Institute the pilot Tonie Marshall
2006 Trivial Antoine Bérangère Sophie Marceau
2009 A Man and His Dog cameo appearance Francis Huster


Foreign honours[edit]

Member of Eurasian Academy (2016).[18][19]


  1. ^ Les Salauds vont en enfer at IMDb Edit this at Wikidata
  2. ^ "5th Moscow International Film Festival (1967)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 16 January 2013. Retrieved 9 December 2012.
  3. ^ "13th Moscow International Film Festival (1983)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 7 November 2013. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
  4. ^ Ilham Aliyev and President of the French Republic Francois Hollande had dinner together
  5. ^ Робер О­ссейн: «Нашу с Мариной Влади семью погубил русский быт» Russian: "Мой отец Андре Оссейн родился в Самарканде, хотя по национальности он азербайджанец, был очень талантливым человеком." Shigareva, Yulia (28 August 2013). Argumenty i Fakty.
  6. ^ Robert HosseinEurasian Academy official website Archived 2019-10-01 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Ilham Aliyev and President of the French Republic Francois Hollande had dinner together". president.az. 12 May 2014. Retrieved 17 August 2019.
  8. ^ a b "Robert Hossein et son fils le rabbin Aaron Eliacheff" (10 February 2011) Harissa
  9. ^ According to the program Le Plus Grand Cabaret du Monde, presented by Patrick Sébastien on 22 September 2007
  10. ^ Genealogy of the Hossein-Mincovschi Family
  11. ^ The International Who's Who 2004
  12. ^ "Robert Hossein, un artiste à la recherche de l'amour de Dieu". www.archivioradiovaticana.va. Retrieved 2020-12-31.
  13. ^ Peze, Emmanuel. (1985) Published in the Marian Collection (1985) by Brother Albert Pfleger, Marist. As reported by the Mary of Nazareth project, at [1]
  14. ^ James Mackenzie "French Showman Brings Pope John Paul II to Stage" (20 September 2007) Reuters.
  15. ^ Pyotr Rozvarin (19 March 2002) "A Pessimist Full of Optimism: An interview with Robert Hossein", Vremya novostei, No. 47 Retrieved 22 December 2007 (in Russian)
  16. ^ Robert Hossein, le géant du théâtre populaire, est mort (in French)
  17. ^ Sovereign Ordonnance n°800 of 18 Nov. 2006 by Prince Albert II
  18. ^ Eurasian Academy Official Site
  19. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 21 November 2016. Retrieved 21 November 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links[edit]