Brasseur, Claude

(1936- )
   Actor. The son of the actors Odette Joyeux and Pierre Brasseur, Claude Brasseur studied at the Conservatoire National d'Art Dramatique in Paris and became a reputable theater actor in the 1950s, working in plays such as Marcel Pagnol's Judas. His first film appearance was in Georges Lampin's 1956 comedy Rencontre à Paris (1956), followed by a role in Marcel Carné's Le Pays d'où je viens (1956). In 1959, he appeared with his father in Georges Franju's Les Yeux sans visage. In addition to acting, Brasseur had a reputation as a daredevil. His pastimes included racing in the Paris-Dakar rally and parachuting.
   In the 1960s, Brasseur worked for some of France's most significant directors, including Jean Renoir in Le Caporal épingle (1961) and Yves Allégret in Germinal (1962). He was also cast in several films associated with the Nouvelle Vague or New Wave, including Claude Chabrol's Les Sept Péchés capitaux (1962), Jean-Luc Godard's Bande à part (1964), and François Truffaut's Une belle fille comme moi (1972). Brasseur appeared in a number of thrillers, among them Costa-Gavras's Un homme de trop (1967) and Georges Lautner's Les Seins de glace (1974). He also flourished in comedies. In 1976, he won a César Award for Best Supporting Actor in Un éléphant, ça trompe énormément (1976). The following year, he appeared in Yves Robert's Nous irons tous au paradis.
   Brasseur worked in a variety of genres alongside other well-known French actors. For example, he acted in Christian de Chalonge's thriller L'argent des autres (1978) with Jean-Louis Trintignant, Michel Serrault, and Catherine Deneuve, in Claude Sautet's Une histore simple (1978) with Romy Schneider, and in Joël Santoni's Ils sont grands, ces petits (1979), again with Deneuve. He remained active in the 1980s, playing Guy de Maupassant in Michel Drach's 1982 film of the same name, and starring in Serge Leroy's Légitime violence (1982); Philippe Labro's La Crime (1983); Edouard Molinaro's Palace (1985); Francis Girod's Descente aux enfers (1986); Godard's Détective (1985); Roger Planchon's Dandin (1987), based on the play by Molière; Alain Page's Taxi boy (1986); Yves Boisset's Radio corbeau (1988); and Jacques Rouffio's L'Orchestre rouge (1989), among other films.
   In the 1990s, Brasseur was less engaged in cinema acting, but still landed major roles in Catherine Breillat's Sale comme un ange (1990), Gilles Béhat's Dancing Machine (1990), Molinaro's Le Souper (1992) — for which he received a César nomination for best actor—Francis De Gueltz's Les Ténors (1993), Dominque Cabrera's L'Autre côté de la mer (1996), and Robert Enrico's Fait d'hiver (1998). Brasseur also acts in television. In the 1970s, he played the lead in the French TV series Vidocq; more recently, he led the cast of the television detective series Franck Keller, and acted in the television film Edda, in which he plays Benito Mussolini.

Historical Dictionary of French Cinema. . 2007.

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