Gérard Philipe

Gérard Philipe

Philipe in 1955
Born Gérard Philipe
(1922-12-04)4 December 1922
Cannes, France
Died 25 November 1959(1959-11-25) (aged 36)
Paris, France
Occupation actor
Years active 19441959
Spouse(s) Nicole Fourcade (19511959) 2 children

Gérard Philipe (4 December 1922 25 November 1959) was a prominent French actor who appeared in 34 films between 1944 and 1959.

Life and career

Born Gérard Philip[1] in Cannes, France, he was of one quarter Czech ancestry from his maternal grandmother and three quarters French ancestry.[2] As a teenager Philipe took acting lessons before going to Paris to study at the Conservatoire of Dramatic Art. When he was 19 years old, he made his stage debut at a theater in Nice; and the following year his strong performance in the Albert Camus play, Caligula, brought an invitation to work with the Théâtre national populaire (T.N.P.) in Paris and Avignon, whose festival, founded in 1947 by Jean Vilar, is France's oldest and most famous.

Philipe made his film debut in Les Petites du quai aux fleurs (1943) and after a few more minor film roles, he rocketed to fame as a result of his performance in Claude Autant-Lara's Devil in the Flesh (1947). Adored by women for his good looks, Gérard Philipe was also a very talented actor and highly regarded by his peers. He played roles as diverse as Faust and Modigliani and he was sought out by France's preeminent directors for his versatility and professionalism.

In 1951, Philipe married Nicole Fourcade (1917–1990), an actress/writer, with whom he had two children. She adopted the pseudonym, Anne Philipe, and wrote about her husband in two books, the first called Souvenirs (1960) and a second biography titled Le Temps d'un soupir (No Longer Than a Sigh, 1963).

Recognized worldwide for his talent, he was at the pinnacle of his career when he died from liver cancer while working on a film project in Paris, a few days short of his 37th birthday. (His doctors concealed from him the nature of his disease.) He is buried in the village cemetery in Ramatuelle, Var near the Mediterranean Sea coast.[3]

To commemorate the centenary of the cinema in 1995, the French government issued a series of limited edition coins that included a 100 franc coin bearing the image of Philipe. Among the most popular French actors of modern times, he has been elevated to mythic status in his homeland, not least because of his early death at the peak of his popularity. In 1986, his portrait appeared on a French commemorative postage stamp. There is a film festival named in his honour as well as a number of theatres and schools (such as the College Gérard Philipe - Cogolin) in various parts of France. In Germany he has been scarcely less respected than in his native country; a cultural centre is named after him in Berlin.

Gérard Philipe Street in Paris

Selected filmography


Year Title Role Director
1946 The Idiot Le prince Muichkine Georges Lampin
1947 Devil in the Flesh François Jaubert Claude Autant-Lara
1948 Such a Pretty Little Beach Pierre Monet Yves Allégret
The Charterhouse of Parma
1949 Beauty and the Devil Young Henri Faust René Clair
1950 Juliette, or Key of Dreams Michel Marcel Carné
La Ronde the Count Max Ophüls
1951 Fanfan la Tulipe Fanfan La Tulipe Christian-Jaque
1952 The Seven Deadly Sins (episode "The Eighth Sin") the carnival banker"/"the painter Georges Lacombe (episode)
Beauties of the Night Claude René Clair
It Happened in the Park (episode "La Rupture") Carlo Gianni Franciolini
1953 The Proud and the Beautiful Georges Yves Allégret
Knave of Hearts Andre Ripois René Clément
Royal Affairs in Versailles D'Artagnan Sacha Guitry
1954 Le Rouge et le Noir Julien Sorel Claude Autant-Lara
1955 The Grand Maneuver Armand de la Verne René Clair
If Paris Were Told to Us Le Trouvère Sacha Guitry
1956 Les Aventures de Till L'Espiègle Till Eulenspiegel Gérard Philipe and Joris Ivens
1957 The House of Lovers Octave Mouret Julien Duvivier
The Lovers of Montparnasse Amedeo Modigliani Jacques Becker
1958 La Vie à deux Désiré Clément Duhour
Le Joueur Alexei Ivanovich Claude Autant-Lara
1959 Les Liaisons dangereuses Vicomte de Valmont Roger Vadim
La Fièvre Monte à El Pao Ramon Vasquez Luis Buñuel



  1. Perisset, Maurice (1979). Alain Lefeuvre, ed. Gérard Philipe ou la jeunesse du monde. Nice. p. 22.
  2. Radio.cz
  3. "Gérard Philipe". Find A Grave. October 25, 1999.

Stupková, Laurence (April 12, 2001). "Gérard Philippe : comédien français très aimé des Tchèques". Prague. http://www.radio.cz/fr/rubrique/faits/gerard-philippe-comedien-francais-tres-aime-des-tcheques


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