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 Alfred Hitchcock's 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.
Jourdan in Madame Bovary trailer, 1949
Louis Robert Gendre
19 June 1921
|Died||14 February 2015 (aged 93)|
|Spouse(s)||Berthe Frédérique "Quique" Jourdan (1946–2014; her death)|
|Children||Louis Henry Jourdan (1951–1981)|
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 Allégret, who hired him to work as an assistant camera operator on Entrée des Artistes (The Curtain Rises).
Jourdan was too young for army service and was hired by Marcel L'Herbier to appear in La Comédie du bonheur (1940) in Rome. He was making Untel Père et Fils in that city when Italy declared war on France. He returned to France, and appeared in Premier rendez-vous (1941) with Danielle Darrieux, shot in Paris. He 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. They included several for Allegret: Parade en sept nuits (1941); L'Arlésienne (1942) with Raimu, The Beautiful Adventure (1942); Les Petites du quai aux fleurs (1944); Twilight (1944). He was in The Heart of a Nation (1943) with Raimu; La Vie de Bohème (1945).
His father was arrested by the Gestapo; months later he escaped, and joined the French Resistance, along with his family. "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 Frédérique (nicknamed "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 in March 1946.
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. He appeared in a theatre production of Ghosts in Los Angeles.
Jourdan frequently argued with Selznick, who put him on suspension a number of times for refusing roles.
Selznick announced Jourdan and Alida Valli for Rupert of Hentzau but the film was not made. Neither was Trilby which Selznick said Jourdan would appear in with Valli and Rossano Brazzi or If This Be My Heart with Valli and Robert Mitchum.
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.
Selznick announced him for The Frenchman and the Bobbysoxer a sequel to The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer but it was not made. Selznick sold his interest in Jourdan for one film to Warner Bros.
All Jourdan's Hollywood films had lost money. He decided to buy out his contract with Selznick for $50,000.
At 20th Century Fox, Jourdan played the lead in a remake of Bird of Paradise (1951). The studio kept him on to appear in Anne of the Indies (1951). He was announced for the romantic male lead in the Fox remake of Les Miserables but ended up not appearing in the film.
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 playing the role of "Dr Nicholas Agi" along with Grace Kelly and Sir Alec Guinness for MGM. This was Kelly's last film, and lost money at the box office. More popular was Julie (1956) a thriller where Jourdan tormented Doris Day.
He returned to France to play the male lead in The Bride Is Much Too Beautiful (1956) with Brigitte Bardot as the lead actress, and Escapade (1957). In Britain he appeared in a swashbuckler, Dangerous Exile (1957).
Jourdan appeared in his biggest hit to date playing 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. He enjoyed another hit with The Best of Everything (1959), an all star romance in the vein of Three Coins in the Fountain. He also appeared in a variety show on TV, An Evening with Louis Jourdan.
Jourdan was going to follow it in a remake of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde in England for Terence Fisher. "It's a terrific change of pace for me," he said. However he did not appear in the final film, The Two Faces of Dr. Jekyll.
Jourdan co-starred with Frank Sinatra, Chevalier and Shirley MacLaine in the musical Can-Can (1960). He travelled to Italy to appear in a peplum, Amazons of Rome (1961). Then it was back to France to star in a version of The Count of Monte Cristo (1961), a massive hit in France. Disorder (1962) was an Italian-French comedy, Mathias Sandorf (1963) was based on a novel by Jules Verne.
For MGM, he made The V.I.P.s (1963), another all star melodrama, and a big hit.
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.
He supported Ann-Margret in Made in Paris (1966) for MGM, then returned to Europe: The Sultans (1967), To Commit a Murder (1967), Cervantes (1967). To Die in Paris (1968) was a US TV movie and A Flea in Her Ear (1968) a Hollywood financed farce.
There were more TV movies: Fear No Evil (1969), Run a Crooked Mile (1970), Ritual of Evil (1970), The Great American Beauty Contest (1973). In later years, Jourdan also appeared on television, including 1977's Count Dracula for the BBC and as a murderous chef in the 1978 Columbo episode "Murder Under Glass".
I take them so seriously that I participate in the original concept and the actual writing. After all, whatever an actor is doing, he's a salesman, so why not commercials? I must confess I love the theater best, though. I've never done a play I didn't like, but one often does movies just to keep functioning. They're less important to me than plays.
In 1985, he appeared in a stage revival of Gigi.
On 11 March 1946, Jourdan married Berthe Frédérique. The marriage produced one child, Louis Henry Jourdan, born on 6 October 1951. Louis Henry Jourdan died of a narcotics overdose at the age of 29 on 12 May 1981; his body was buried at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles. Berthe Jourdan died in 2014.
After his retirement from acting in 1992 Jourdan lived in Los Angeles. In July 2010 he was made a Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur, an honor that 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||Her First Affair||Pierre Rougemont||(France: Premier rendez-vous)|
|Parade en sept nuits||Freddy Richard, le clown|
|The Beautiful Adventure||André d'Éguzon|
|1943||The Heart of a Nation||Christian||Uncredited|
|1944||Les Petites du quai aux fleurs||Francis|
|Félicie Nanteuil (US: Twilight)||Robert de Ligny|
|1945||La Vie de Boheme||Rodolphe / Rodolfo|
|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 Swan||Dr. Nicholas Agi|
|The Bride Is Much Too Beautiful||Michel|
|1957||Love in the Afternoon||Narrator||Uncredited|
|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 Dantes|
|1963||Mathias Sandorf||Le comte Mathias Sandorf|
|Irma la Douce||Narrator||Uncredited|
|The V.I.P.s||Marc Champselle|
|1966||Made in Paris||Marc Fontaine|
|1967||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||Alberto Landi|
|1975||The Count of Monte Cristo||De Villefort||TV|
|1977||The Man in the Iron Mask||D'Artagnan||TV|
|Silver Bears||Prince di Siracusa|
|The More It Goes, the Less It Goes||Paul Tango|
|Count Dracula||Count Dracula||TV|
|1978||Columbo||Paul Gerard||TV episode "Murder Under Glass"|
|1979||The French Atlantic Affair||Captain Charles Girodt||TV|
|1980||Charlie's Angels||Dr. Redmond||TV episode "Nips and Tucks"|
|1982||Romance Theatre: Gamble on Love||Host||TV|
|Romance Theatre: Bayou Romance||Host||TV; uncredited|
|Swamp Thing||Dr. Anton Arcane|
|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|
|Romance Theatre: Escape to Love||Host||TV|
|1987||Grand Larceny||Charles Grand|
|1989||The Return of Swamp Thing||Dr. Anton Arcane|
|1992||Year of the Comet||Philippe||(final film role)|
Anne of the Indies is a 1951 Technicolor adventure film made by 20th Century Fox. It was directed by Jacques Tourneur and produced by George Jessel.
The film stars Jean Peters and Louis Jourdan, with Debra Paget, Herbert Marshall, Thomas Gomez and James Robertson Justice.Bird of Paradise (1951 film)
Bird of Paradise is a 1951 American color drama film from 20th Century Fox, produced and directed by Delmer Daves, that stars Debra Paget, Louis Jourdan, and Jeff Chandler. The screenplay was also written by Daves and was based on the play by Richard Walton Tully.Can-Can (film)
Can-Can is a 1960 American musical film made by Suffolk-Cummings productions and distributed by 20th Century Fox. It was directed by Walter Lang, produced by Jack Cummings and Saul Chaplin, from a screenplay by Dorothy Kingsley and Charles Lederer, loosely based on the musical play by Abe Burrows with music and lyrics by Cole Porter, with some songs replaced by songs from earlier Porter musicals. Art direction was by Jack Martin Smith and Lyle R. Wheeler, costume design by Irene Sharaff, and dance staging by Hermes Pan. The film was photographed in Todd-AO. It was, after Ben-Hur, the top-grossing film of 1960, although it was a box office disappointment, failing to make back its production costs.
The film stars Frank Sinatra, Shirley MacLaine, Maurice Chevalier and Louis Jourdan, and introduced Juliet Prowse in her first film role. Sinatra, who was paid $200,000 along with a percentage of the film's profits, acted in the film under a contractual obligation required by 20th Century Fox after he walked off the set of Carousel in 1955.Count Dracula (1977 film)
Count Dracula is a British television adaptation of the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker. Produced by the BBC (in the then standard video/film hybrid format), it first aired on BBC 2 on 22 December 1977. It is among the more faithful of the many adaptations of the original book. Directed by Philip Saville, it stars Louis Jourdan as Count Dracula and Frank Finlay as Professor Van Helsing.Gigi (1958 film)
Gigi (French pronunciation: [ʒiʒi]) is a 1958 American musical-romance film directed by Vincente Minnelli processed using Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's color film process Metrocolor. The screenplay by Alan Jay Lerner is based on the 1944 novella of the same name by Colette. The film features songs with lyrics by Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe, arranged and conducted by André Previn.
In 1991, Gigi was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". The American Film Institute ranked it #35 in AFI's 100 Years...100 Passions. The film is considered the last great Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer musical and the final great achievement of the Freed Unit, headed by producer Arthur Freed, although he would go on to produce several more films, including the musical Bells Are Ringing in 1960.La Comédie du bonheur
Le Comedie du Bonheur (also known as Ecco La Felicità in Italy and Comedy of Happiness in England) is a 1940 French-Italian film. It was the first completed film of Louis Jourdan.Le Corsaire (film)
Le Corsaire ("The Pirate") is an unfinished 1939 French film. It marked the screen debut of Louis Jourdan.Ritual of Evil
Ritual of Evil is a 1970 television film directed by Robert Day. It was made as a sequel to Fear No Evil (1969), which also starred Louis Jourdan as Dr. Sorrell.The Beautiful Adventure (1942 film)
The Beautiful Adventure (French: La Belle aventure) is a 1942 French romantic comedy film directed by Marc Allégret and starring Claude Dauphin, Micheline Presle and Louis Jourdan. It is based on a play by Gaston Arman de Caillavet, Robert de Flers and Étienne Rey.
The film's sets were designed by the art director Paul Bertrand.The Count of Monte Cristo (1975 film)
The Count of Monte Cristo is a 1975 television film produced by ITC Entertainment and based upon the book The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, père. It was directed by David Greene and starred Richard Chamberlain as Edmond Dantès, Kate Nelligan as Mercedes, Tony Curtis as Fernand Mondego, Louis Jourdan (who played Edmond Dantès in the 1961 film adaptation of the novel) as De Villefort, Donald Pleasence as Danglars, Trevor Howard as Abbé Faria, and Isabelle de Valvert as Haydee. ITC had previously produced a 39-part TV series based on the same source material, in 1956.
Later it was remade in Telugu as Veta.The Great American Beauty Contest
The Great American Beauty Contest is a 1973 American satirical comedy-drama TV film, starring JoAnna Cameron and featuring Eleanor Parker, Robert Cummings, Louis Jourdan and Farrah Fawcett in an early film appearance.It was directed by Robert Day and was originally shown on the ABC TV network in the United States on February 13, 1973.
"It's turning out to be great camp," said Aaron Spelling during filming.Allmovie characterizes the film as "An unsubtle but effective TV-movie satire of the 'Miss America' syndrome", and calls the belly dance performed by Farrah Fawcett "endearingly ridiculous."The Los Angeles Times called it "witty, perceptive."The Happy Time
The Happy Time is a 1952 American comedy film directed by the award-winning director Richard Fleischer, based on the 1945 novel of the same name by Robert Fontaine, which Samuel A. Taylor turned into a hit play. A boy, played by Bobby Driscoll, comes of age in a close-knit French-Canadian family. The film stars Charles Boyer and Louis Jourdan as his father and uncle respectively. The play was also adapted into a musical in 1968 by composer John Kander, lyricist Fred Ebb, and librettist N. Richard Nash, and starred Robert Goulet. Included in the orchestra was the soloist john Serry Sr..The Man in the Iron Mask (1977 film)
The Man in the Iron Mask is a 1977 television film loosely adapted from The Vicomte de Bragelonne by Alexandre Dumas and presenting several plot similarities with the 1939 film version. It was produced by Norman Rosemont for ITC Entertainment, and starred Richard Chamberlain as King Louis XIV and his twin Philippe, Patrick McGoohan as Nicolas Fouquet, Ralph Richardson as Jean-Baptiste Colbert, Louis Jourdan as D'Artagnan, and Ian Holm as the Chevalier Duval. Jenny Agutter plays Louis XIV's mistress, Louise de la Vallière and Vivien Merchant appears as Queen Marie-Therese. It was directed by Mike Newell.The Paradine Case
The Paradine Case is a 1947 American film noir courtroom drama film, set in England, directed by Alfred Hitchcock and produced by David O. Selznick. The screenplay was written by Selznick and an uncredited Ben Hecht, from an adaptation by Alma Reville and James Bridie of the novel by Robert Smythe Hichens. The film stars Gregory Peck, Ann Todd, Alida Valli, Charles Laughton, Charles Coburn, Ethel Barrymore and Louis Jourdan. It tells of an English barrister who falls in love with a woman who is accused of murder, and how it affects his relationship with his wife.The Return of Swamp Thing
The Return of Swamp Thing is a 1989 American superhero film based on the DC Comics' character of the same name. Directed by Jim Wynorski, it is a sequel to the 1982 film Swamp Thing, having a lighter tone than its predecessor. The film has a main title montage that consists of comic book covers set to Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Born on the Bayou", and features Dick Durock and Louis Jourdan reprising their roles as Swamp Thing and Anton Arcane respectively, along with Sarah Douglas and Heather Locklear.The Swan (film)
The Swan (1956) an Eastman Color in CinemaScope is a remake of The Swan (1925), a Paramount Pictures release. Another film version was released as One Romantic Night (1930).
The film is a romantic comedy released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, directed by Charles Vidor, produced by Dore Schary from a screenplay by John Dighton, and based on the play by Ferenc Molnár. The original music score was by Bronisław Kaper, the cinematography by Joseph Ruttenberg and Robert Surtees, the art direction by Randall Duell and Cedric Gibbons, and the costume design by Helen Rose.
The film stars Grace Kelly, Alec Guinness and Louis Jourdan with Agnes Moorehead, Jessie Royce Landis, Brian Aherne, Leo G. Carroll, Estelle Winwood, and Robert Coote.The V.I.P.s (film)
The V.I.P.s (also known as Hotel International) is a 1963 British drama film in Metrocolor and Panavision. It was directed by Anthony Asquith, produced by Anatole de Grunwald and distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. The film was written by Terence Rattigan, with a music score by Miklós Rózsa.
It has an all-star cast including Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, Louis Jourdan, Elsa Martinelli, Maggie Smith, Rod Taylor, Orson Welles and Margaret Rutherford, who won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress as well as the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture.Three Coins in the Fountain (film)
Three Coins in the Fountain is a 1954 American romantic comedy film directed by Jean Negulesco and starring Clifton Webb, Dorothy McGuire, Jean Peters, Louis Jourdan, Rossano Brazzi, and Maggie McNamara. Written by John Patrick, the film is about three American women working in Rome who dream of finding romance in the Eternal City.The film's main title song "Three Coins in the Fountain" (sung by an uncredited Frank Sinatra) went on to become an enduring standard. The story was adapted by John Patrick from the novel Coins in the Fountain by John H. Secondari. It was made in Italy during the "Hollywood on the Tiber" era.
At the 27th Academy Awards in 1955, the film received two Academy Awards for Best Cinematography and Best Song, and was nominated for Best Picture.Twilight (1944 film)
Twilight (France: Félicie Nanteuil) is a 1944 French drama film directed by Marc Allégret and starring Claude Dauphin, Micheline Presle and Louis Jourdan.