Michel Aumont, servant of the theater and popular cinema


From the stage to the cinema, from comedy to tragedy, from classical to contemporary, the former comedian of the Comédie-Française said of him "to be nothing but his roles". He died on Wednesday, August 28, at the age of 82.

By Véronique Cauhapé and Joëlle Gayot Posted today at 09:57, updated at 11:34

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Michel Aumont, in April 2003.

Actor Michel Aumont died on Wednesday, August 28, at age 82, bringing to the grave some of the secrets of Harpagon, a Molière character who came to plead the cause at the Comédie-Française, evening after night, for twenty years. From 1969 to 1989, and more than two hundred times, he interpreted the role of the Miser, stalking, under the blackness of a character despised by all, what was left of humanity. A quest to which he devoted himself without respite and without weariness. A masterful performer, with the calm airs of a well-fed cat, but whose voice, when she thundered, gave the measure of an anger capable of devastating the muffled sound of the dark rooms, this actor belonged above all to the theater. He had come there very young, bending to the family destiny.

Born on October 15, 1936 in Paris, his father was the stage manager of the Théâtre-Français. His mother, actress Hélène Gerber, trained her with her in Avignon or behind the scenes of Jean Vilar's TNP. Why secede when the scene, obviously, calls you? In 1956, when he was just 20 years old, the young Michel, Prix d'interprétation of the Conservatoire de Paris, entered the Comédie-Française. Appointed member in 1965, he will not leave the venerable house until 1993, thirty-seven years later and sixty pieces to his credit. A sum that makes him the exemplary servant of a staged in the French. If it meets the wishes of the big names of XXe century (Antoine Bourseiller, Jean-Marie Serreau, Roger Blin or Antoine Vitez), Michel Aumont is especially the favorite rookie of Jean-Paul Roussillon, who, he said, had "Weakness or kindness" to distribute it often.

With him, he explores Sophocles, Feydeau, Jean-Claude Grumberg, Molière from top to bottom, when, with the others, he ventures to Shakespeare, Labiche, Pirandello, Rostand, Claudel, Beckett, Ionesco, Harold Pinter or Robert Pinget . To furrow languages ​​and universes thus, it acquires the thickness, the knowledge and the maturity of the masters. From classical to contemporary, he can play everything. Except adventures too experimental, which do not interest him. "I'm not really a modern, he confided on the radio in 2009. To play Andromache in a Palestinian camp with a helicopter coming in, I do not believe it. I'm in the middle. Neither too much nor too little. "

Four Molière

Between too much and too little, the beast has crouched. Leaving the Comédie-Française, Michel Aumont gets out the claws. He chained the projects. Accumulates the awards (three Molières awarded between 1999 and 2007 and added to a first, obtained in 1993, for Macbeth). He becomes a faithful of the National Theater of the Hill, where Jorge Lavelli leads him to summits of perversity in Decadence, retorse fiction by Steven Berkoff (1995). He explores contemporary dramaturgies (Yasmina Reza, Serge Kribus, Yves Ravey, Jon Fosse), performs in the private theater and, in 2015, puts the final point to his career with a monster role that was waiting for him, his beautiful mouth, white mane and bow tie: King Lear, from Shakespeare.
Leading actor in the theater, Michel Aumont has been, in the cinema, the actor of supporting roles. He has never harbored bitterness, his modesty preventing him as much as the pleasure he had had in embodying characters of happy fellows, good guys or bastards. In the shadow of those who were in the limelight, he made himself known, at a rate of one and sometimes several films per year, to the general public. "I'm not Delon, he said in 2015 in the program "Free entry" on France 5. I'm not overexposed, but I'm not under-exposed. I have my place. It's okay, what? " A small place he had managed to build since the first film in which he shot, The woman in blue, from Michel Deville, in 1973, until the last, Long live the crisis!, by Jean-François Davy (2017), and Me and Che, by Patrice Gautier (2018). Hands-on, Michel Aumont claimed to practice only his job. Actor, no more, no less.

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