Jean-Paul Belmondo died yesterday, at the age of 88.
A few quotes from this article published in the New York Times:
Later in his career Mr. Belmondo professed an unpretentious modesty, shrugging off his success, but at his box-office height in the 1960s, he was anything but modest. In an interview with the film critic Rex Reed in 1966, he all but sneered at American fans who were lining up to see his movies. “I do not blame them,” he said, puffing on a cigar and stretching out his long legs underneath a table at Harry’s Bar in Venice. “I am worth standing in line to see.”
More and more Mr. Belmondo became known for popular adventures, usually comic thrillers. And he became famous for elaborate stunts in which he took great pride in performing himself. He hung from skyscrapers, leapt across speeding trains, drove cars off hillsides. Co-stars said he seemed all but fearless. While shooting one scene in South America, he was warned that a river, into which he was about to plunge for a scene, was filled with poisonous snakes and piranha. Mr. Belmondo grabbed a chunk of corned beef and slung it into the murky water. When nothing happened, he jumped in and filmed the scene.
A year later the marriage had ended in divorce. Mr. Belmondo had three children with Ms. Constantin. The eldest, Patricia, died in a fire in 1994, but their younger daughter, Florence, and a son, Paul, survive him. The divorce was rumored to have resulted from a romance by Mr. Belmondo with one of his co-stars, Ursula Andress. He and Ms. Andress did have a long-term public relationship after the divorce. He was later romantically involved with another actress, Laura Antonelli. But not until 2002, when he was 70 years old, did he marry again, to 24-year-old Nathalie Tardivel. That marriage ended in divorce six years later. They had a daughter, Stella, who also survives him.
As a kid, I watched quite a few movies with Jean-Paul who at this time was at the peak of his career, notably L’As des As (Ace of Aces) and a few others. I will miss his bright smile — but I can still re-watch some of his best movies…