Bernard Blier



Bernard Blier photo
Bernard Blier was a French film actor. He was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina on 11 January 1916 and died in Saint-Cloud, France on 29 March 1989. The son of Jules Blier, a biologist at the Pasteur Institute, Bernard Blier hated school and began taking drama lessons when he was 15. On the fourth attempt, he was admitted to the Paris Conservatoire, a leading drama school, in 1937. As he began a promising stage career, Blier started to appear in films, in minor roles to begin with. These included two of Marcel Carné's poetic realist masterpieces: Hôtel du Nord (1938) and Le Jour se lève (1939), the latter of which marked the beginning of his lifelong friendship with Jean Gabin. At the start of WWII, Blier enlisted in the French infantry but was captured and interned in a prisoner-of-war camp in Austria, where he lost 27 pounds in weight. On his return to France in 1941, he quickly resumed his acting career, playing small but noticeable supporting roles in films by such distinguished directors as Christian-Jaque, Marcel L'Herbier and Claude-Autant Lara. Blier's flair for playing pathetic, unattractive losers was revealed in H.G. Clouzot's Quai des Orfèvres (1947) and then exploited to the full by Yves Allégret in Dédée d'Anvers (1948) and Manèges (1950). As well as serious dramatic roles, Blier excelled at comedy, particularly in parody gangster roles exemplified by those he played in Georges Lautner's Les Tontons flingueurs (1963) and Yves Robert's Le Grand blond avec une chaussure noire (1972). In 1979, he starred alongside Gérard Depardieu in Buffet froid, directed by his son Bertrand, who was now an established filmmaker. In the 1980s, his career waning, Bernard Blier devoted most of his time to Italian cinema. In March 1989, a few weeks before he died from the cancer illness he had been suffering from for four years, Blier was awarded an honorary César for his life's work.
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