Jean Paul Belmondo, a symbol of world cinema, interpreted the modernity of the New wave en películas como ‘À double tour’, by Claude Chabrol o ‘At the end of the getaway‘and’ Pierrot the crazy ‘, both of the great Jean-Luc Godard.
With his portrayal of Michel Poiccard in ‘À bout de souffle’, Belmondo represented the figure of a provocative and seductive antihero, very different from the Hollywood stereotypes that Godard himself was inspired by.
Belmondo (April 9, 1933, Neuilly sur Seine, outskirts of Paris), had a passion for art since he was a child, coming from an Italian family of artists: his father, Paul Belmondo, was an important sculptor, author of a large number of monuments public in Paris, and his mother was a painter.
In his youth, little inclined in studies, he discovered his passion for sports, especially boxing, where he would have a short professional career during adolescence and thanks to which he would achieve an athletic physique and a broken nose, which would help him in his film career.
At the age of 16, he decided to be an actor and enrolled in drama courses taught by Raymond Godard.. He would debut with a tour of Parisian hospitals with the play “Sleeping Beauty in the Forest.”
In 1951 he entered the Paris Conservatoire, at the same time he would continue to play supporting roles in the theater until Jean Luc Godard noticed him and gave him a role in ‘Charlotte et son Jules’. Later he would make his leap to fame working with the same director with ‘At the end of the getaway‘ (1960).
From then on he began to shoot a large number of films, initially with the main filmmakers of the New wave, but little by little moving to the action genre and ended up becoming the standard bearer of French cinema.
He worked with the best filmmakers of the time, both French and Italian, and gave the counterpoint to some of the most prominent actresses of the moment, such as Sophia Loren, Catherine Deneuve, Annie Girardot, Ursula Andress, Anna Karina or Jean Seberg.
Belmondo knew how to intelligently exploit his appearance and his physique, he is known by some as “the most handsome ugly man”. or “the hero of the punch and the bizarre chase” – and he always opposed being dubbed in stunts in his films.
A supporter of giving the public action and sympathy, he shot more than ninety films, of which a good handful are today film classics, from the aforementioned ‘At the end of the getaway’ to ‘Pierrot le Fou’ and ‘The animal’.
Belmondo’s great rival in the icon of the seductive dandy of French cinema was Alain Delon, with whom he worked in the gangster film ‘Borsalino’ (1970).
Despite the fact that Delon enjoyed a greater physical attractiveness than Belmondo, he knew how to captivate the public with his great sympathy and authenticity, different from what viewers were used to in the world of cinema.
From the 80s he had less presence in the cinema and worked mainly in the theater. In 1989 he received the ‘César’ of the best actor in his character in ‘Itinéraire d’un enfant gâté’ (‘Itinerary of a spoiled child’).
Since then, At the beginning of 2000, health problems forced him to withdraw from the cinema and the spotlight.s, except for his participation in the film ‘Un homme et son chien’ (A man and his dog) by Francis Husterde 2009.
Known for his passion for women, the actor had a long love life. In 1955 he married Elodie Constantin, a childhood friend, whom he divorced in 1965 and with whom he had three children. After their separation, Belmondo maintained relationships with actresses such as Ursula Andrés and Laura Antonelli.
His second wife was the actress Nathalie Tardivel, with whom he had another child before divorcing in 2008. That year he began a relationship with former Belgian playboy and model Barbara Gandolfi, which caused a scandal since she was 42 years younger than the actor.
One of the last times he appeared in public was in 2016 to collect the ‘Golden Lion of Honor’ at the Venice Film Festival, despite his health problems.
There, he assured that he only looks forward. “I never think of the past. Go ahead, go ahead, go ahead “Belmondo affirmed, with great dignity and a huge smile in front of his followers.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.