Sunday, February 15, 2015

Louis Jourdan, 1921-2015

Sad news to report today: Actor Louis Jourdan has passed away at the age of 93.

Jourdan would be beloved to fans of musicals if he'd made only one film in his career, Vincente Minnelli's GIGI (1958). In that movie Jourdan was part of what is, to my thinking, one of the most joyous scenes ever filmed, "The Night They Invented Champagne."

I also especially enjoyed his film THREE COINS IN THE FOUNTAIN (1954), and I have fond memories of a childhood viewing of the 1975 TV-movie THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO, which Jourdan starred in with Richard Chamberlain, Trevor Howard, Donald Pleasence, and Tony Curtis. (Update: Here's a brand-new review of THREE COINS IN THE FOUNTAIN.)

Other Jourdan films previously reviewed here are LETTER FROM AN UNKNOWN WOMAN (1948), THE HAPPY TIME (1952), THE SWAN (1956), and JULIE (1956). JULIE was recently shown at the Noir City Festival in San Francisco, and I'm hopeful it will also be on the schedule for Noir City Hollywood this April.

Additional notable Louis Jourdan films include THE PARADINE CASE (1947), MADAME BOVARY (1949), BIRD OF PARADISE (1951), ANNE OF THE INDIES (1951), THE V.I.P.s (1963), and OCTOPUSSY (1983). He also narrated the wonderful Billy Wilder comedy LOVE IN THE AFTERNOON (1957).

Variety reports that a biography and documentary about Jourdan's life are in the works.

There is video on the web of the Ambassador of France honoring Louis Jourdan with the L├ęgion d'Honneur in 2010. Jourdan looked wonderful! Such an elegant man. Kirk Douglas and Sidney Poitier were present to see their friend honored.

Louis Jourdan passed on at his home in Beverly Hills. I anticipate he will be buried at Westwood Village Memorial Park, where he and his wife Quique saved a plot alongside their son, who passed away in 1981. I photographed the marker on a visit early in 2014. Quique died last year, after I visited the cemetery.

Additional obituaries have been published by The Hollywood Reporter and People.

Update: Here is the obituary from the Los Angeles Times.

Update: Here is the TCM Remembers memorial video.


Blogger Blake Lucas said...

He was really great. Guess we can't be too sad given his age but I am anyway because there is no one like that around now and there won't be.

Though I liked Jourdan in GIGI and thought he was an asset to it, it's the one Minnelli movie that, for all its virtues, I consider most overrated. It's very far from a favorite for me.

His finest performance--the kind of career peak that everyone that good should have--was surely in LETTER FROM AN UNKNOWN WOMAN.

I know you won't agree with that Laura and as I recall you didn't say one word about his acting and probably disliked the character, but I don't feel that way at all about it myself.

2:35 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Hi Blake!

I might agree that GIGI is a bit overrated -- yet at the same time it's a title which has grown on me more and more with the passing years.

I thought he was fine in LETTER FROM AN UNKNOWN WOMAN but you're correct, I disliked that character, seeing him (rightly or wrongly) as a villain for much of the film. He was excellent yet at this juncture of my life that film just didn't speak to me, other than Fontaine's beautiful performance.

I think of him playing tennis in GIGI and other happy moments...beautiful memories.

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on a wonderful actor. He had a great long life but it's still very sad to see someone like him -- or Fontaine, not that long ago -- leave us.

Best wishes,

2:49 PM  
Blogger barrylane said...

Kirk Douglas, Sidney Poitier, Mr. and Mrs. Jourdan are all such grand people you hope they will live forever, and in a way, they will.

5:20 PM  
Blogger Maricatrin said...

I'm sorry to hear the news. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and for all the links/information.

I haven't seen Gigi in it's entirety or Three Coins in the Fountain (yet), but I liked The Count of Monte-Cristo (1975) very much, and thought Jourdan did a great job as a villain. He co-starred with Chamberlain again in The Man in the Iron Mask (1977), as an older D'Artagnan, doing equally well as one of the protagonists.

And despite being slightly miscast, he still gave a very good performance as Count Dracula in a BBC adaption of the story. He also co-starred with Mary Tyler Moore in an entertaining made-for-TV mystery/thriller I saw some years ago.

7:48 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Barrylane, what a lovely thought. Thank you.

Maricatrin, many thanks for the recommendation of THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK. I'd forgotten all about that one but I think I saw it too. For some reason I remembered MONTE CRISTO more vividly. I hope you'll enjoy THREE COINS IN THE FOUNTAIN and GIGI when you are able to watch them.

Best wishes,

7:51 PM  
Blogger Maricatrin said...

You're welcome:-) Of the pair, Monte Cristo is my favorite, but I think Man in the Iron Mask was quite well done too.

I have seen "The Night They Invented Champagne" scene (the song would not get out of my head afterwards), and I enjoyed it very much.

7:54 AM  

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