Monday, September 21, 2020

Legendary actor Michael Lonsdale dies at 89


Michael Lonsdale, the British - French actor with a far -ranging film and theatre career but most widely recognised as the villain opposite James Bond in “ Moonraker ” , died on Monday aged 89, his agent told AFP.

Lonsdale, who was bilingual, chalked up more than 200 roles over a six -decade career, equally at ease in experimental arthouse productions as in big- budget crowd- pleasers .

With his silky yet imposing voice and a distinctive goatee , Lonsdale often served up memorable performances that stuck with viewers even when only in minor roles .

His agent , Olivier Loiseau, said he had died at his home in Paris , the city where he was born on May 24, 1931, to an English military officer and a French mother .

Arguably the highlight of his career came when he played a Trappist monk in “ Of Gods and Men” in 2010.

Based on true events , the film tells the story of seven French monks who were murdered after being kidnapped from their monastery in Algeria in 1996 during the country ’ s civil war .

For the role Lonsdale won his first and only Cesar award — France ’ s version of the Oscars — for best supporting actor in 2011.

Yet for millions of people he was the sadistic industrialist Hugo Drax in the 1979 Bond film “ Moonraker ” starring Roger Moore, with a plan to destroy Earth ’ s population with nerve gas while he escaped into space.


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