1922 - 1959
Gérard Philipe belongs to the mysterious actors of the French film. He already became a cult figure in his lifetime and his early death made him a legend.
When he appeared in the public he was immediately surrounded, celebrated and adored. The public was at this romantic hero's feet and he was an idol of his time like James Dean or Elvis Presley.
Gérard Philipe was born as a son of a hotelier. He first studied medicine in Paris in order to work as a doctor in the colony later. But his father didn't like this idea and Gérard Philipe began to study law.
He was spotted by director Marc Allègret during a charity party and he gave him a small role in his movie „Les petites du quai aux fleurs“ (44).
The actor Claude Dauphin became his teacher and Gérard Philipe managed his breakthrough as an angel with the movie „Sodom und Gomorrah „. After that he became a star at the theater and on the big screen.
With movies like „L'idiot - Der Idiot“ (45), „Le diable au corps - Teufel im Leib“ (46) or „La chartreuse de Parme - Die Kartause von Parma“ (47) he conquered a fixed place in the brigade of the great actors.
He experienced the height of his career in the 50's. Movies like „La ronde - Der Reigen“ (50), „Les belles de nuit - Die Schönen der Nacht“ (52) and „Monsieur Ripois“ (54) offered him rewarding roles. With the movie „Les orgueilleux - Die Hochmütigen“ (53) he became together with Michèle Morgan a French film dream couple.
One of the most important directors in Gérard Philipe's career was beside Christian-Jaque also René Clair. Besides „Die Schönen der Nacht“ (52) - at the height of his career - he also took part in „La Beauté du diable“ (50) and „Les grandes manoeuvres - Das grosse Manöver“ (55).
But Gérard Philipe became a mythos especially with one movie, Christian-Jaque's „Fanfan le Tulipe - Fanfan, der Husar“ (52). The film narrates the story of a cheerful young man who let recruit himself by the seductive Adeline (Gina Lollobirigida). She prophesies him that he will get married with the daughter of Ludwig XV, Henriette. This is a wonderful, adventurous and buoyant parody to the nonsense of war.
Gérard Philipe got married Nicole Fourcade in 1951. They had two children, one daughter and one son.
In the movie „Montparnasse 19“ (57) he impersonated the painter Amedeo Modigliani. It was planned the the movie was directed by Max Ophüls but he died briefly to his death. Jacques Becker took over the direction and shot it in memory to Max Ophüls.
To the most popular movies of Gérard Philipe belong Roger Vadim's „Les liaisons dangereuses - Gefährliche Liebschaften“ (59), although the film itself was not really convincing. But especially the acting abilities of Gérard Philipe and Jeanne Moreau was impressive.
The secret of Gérard Philipe's success is difficult to explain. Some called him "Darling of the gods" others described him as a highly gifted actor. Even his political opinion, his preference for Russian movies, his attempt to realise a French-Chinese production and his cooperation with the DEFA didn't affect his career. He also was the president of the French acting trade for some years till his death.
Gérard Philipe died on 25th of November 1959 in Paris because
of liver cancer. The movie „La fièvre monte à El Pao - Für
ihn verkaufe ich mich“ directed by Luis Buñuel could be finished
in time and became an Hommage for Gérard Philipe.
Other movies with Gérard Philipe: