Michael Lonsdale, the veteran British-French actor known for his roles in Bond movie Moonraker and thriller The Day of the Jackal, has died in Paris, his agent has confirmed to Deadline. He was 89.
Lonsdale appeared in more than 200 film and TV projects, working both in English and French.
Among his other most high-profile English-language films were drama The Remains of The Day, crime pic Ronin and historical-thriller Munich.
Born in Paris and raised on the island of Guernsey and then London, Lonsdale returned to Paris to study painting in 1947. He first appeared on stage at 24 and would go on to score roles in 1950s French genre movies.
In the 1970s, he worked with acclaimed directors including Louis Malle, Marcel Carné, Joseph Losey, Alain Resnais, Jacques Bral and Marguerite Duras. In the same decade, he was BAFTA-nominated for his supporting role in thriller The Day of the Jackal, about an attempted assassination of France’s President Charles de Gaulle.
The versatile and respected actor probably is best known for playing the lead villain opposite Roger Moore in 1979 Bond pic Moonraker. In the film, he played Hugo Drax, an industrialist planning to poison all humans on Earth then repopulate the planet from his space station.
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Other great filmmakers Lonsdale worked during his impressive career included Orson Welles, René Clément, François Truffaut, Jacques Rivette, Luis Bunuel and Costa-Gavras.
He would score acclaim in later years for Xavier Bauvois’ 2010 Cannes drama Of Gods and Men (Des Hommes et Des Dieux), for which he won a Cesar Award for best supporting actor. He was nominated for Cesars on two other occasions.
Lonsdale was also the author of 10 books.
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