It’s a very morbid day as not one but two important figures of the French acting world passed away of unnatural causes.
Most tragic is undoubtedly the 37 year old Guillaume Depardieu, son of the internationally-known Gérard Depardieu (Babylon A.D.), who died today, October 13th, of a sudden pneumonia attack due to a virus caught a few days ago in Romania on the set of the thriller L’Enfant D’Icare (literally Icarus’ Child). Winner of a César acting award (the French equivalent of the Oscars) for the 1995 comedy Les Apprentis (literally The Apprentices) and nominated twice before, this is unbelievably not the only incredibly tragic event of Guillaume Depardieu’s short life.
Indeed the troubled, formerly drug-addicted actor had many run-ins with the the law and several stints in prison but most sad is the traffic accident he was involved in in 1995. A suitcase which had fallen from a car caused him to fall from his motorcycle and badly damage his right knee. He was immediately operated on but things didn’t go very well and an infection settled in, forcing him to have his right leg amputated in 2003.
He however didn’t let that stop him and resumed his acting career, at the same time creating the Guillaume Depardieu Foundation for nosomical infections. He was last seen on the big screen in the acclaimed dramas Versailles and On War, both shown at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Having played over forty roles, some of his best-known films are the 1991’s All The Mornings Of The Wold and 1999’s Pola X. He was also a recipient of the prestigious Jean Gabin Award.
Guillaume Depardieu is survived by his father, his mother the actress Elisabeth Guignot (Jean De Florette), his sister the actress Julie Depardieu (Rush Hour 3), his half-sister Roxane, his half-brother Jean and his daughter Louise. He will posthumously appear in a couple of forthcoming films and no word on what will happen to L’Enfant D’Icare.
Today also marks the death of 80 year old Françoise Seigner, of pancreatic cancer. The acclaimed actress, aunt of actresses Emmanuelle (The Diving Bell And The Butterfly) and Mathilde (Harry, He’s Here To Help/With A Friend Like Harry…), best known for her contributions to the theater nevertheless acted in a few films, most famously 1970’s The Wild Child and most recently the 2005 Agatha Christie adaptation By The Pricking Of My Thumbs.
One must also not forget celebrated 71 year old Japanese actor Ken Ogata, who died on October 5th of liver cancer. The award-winning performer is best-known for such films as The Pillow Book, Mishima: A Life In Four Chapters and several collaborations with late director Shohei Imamura, including one of the segments of 11’09”01: September 11 and the 1983 Golden Palm winner Ballad Of Narayama. He is survived by his two actor sons Kanta (The Samurai I Loved) and Naoto (The Deep Red).