French New Wave Actor Jean-Paul Belmondo Dead at 88

LE DOULOS, (aka DOULOS: THE FINGER MAN), Jean-Paul Belmondo, 1962 – Credit: Courtesy Everett Collection

French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo, known for films like Breathless and Two Women, has died at age 88. The actor, whose death was confirmed by his lawyer to AFP News Agency, died at his home in Paris.

Belmondo got his start in acting in the 1950s, first working in theater before moving into film. He collaborated with French New Wave auteur Jean-Luc Godard in 1958 short Charlotte And Her Boyfriend, and went on to work with Godard several more times, including in 1960’s Breathless and 1961’s A Woman Is a Woman. He also starred in films by François Truffaut and Claude Chabrol, among other well-known French directors.

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Beyond working in French cinema, Belmondo also appeared in several Italian films, most notably opposite Sophia Loren in 1961’s Two Women and in 1961’s The Lovemakers. The actor continued working through the 1970s and 1980s, becoming one of France’s biggest box office draws until the mid-’80s, according to Variety. One of his most recent performances came in 2009, in Un Homme et son chien, from director Francis Huster.

In 1989, the actor won a best actor Cesar Award for his performance in Claude Lelouch’s Itineraire d’un enfant gate. However, he refused to accept the award because it was designed by artist Cesar Baldaccini, who had never acknowledged the work of Belmondo’s father, sculptor Paul Belmondo.

Belmondo was twice divorced, and his daughter Patricia Belmondo, from his first wife, died in 1994. The actor is survived by three children, including Paul Belmondo, who is an actor and race car driver.

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