Charles Gérard died on Thursday at the age of 96. He was a second favorite role of Claude Lelouch but also the unwavering friend of Jean-Paul Belmondo that he helped in many films including “Flic or Voyou”.
Born on December 1, 1926 to Armenian parents, the man with the stocky build was especially recognizable by his singular nose, broken by Jean-Paul Belmondo during their first meeting, in a ring in 1948. The two young people then see themselves boxers and bind themselves to a strong friendship, which will last more than seventy years.
For his film debut, Charles Gérard prefers to be behind the camera than before. In the 1960s, he made B-series thrillers like “The Man Who Betrayed the Mafia” with Robert Hossein, or “The enemy in the shadows” with Roger Hanin. At the time, he was also a journalist for the sports program “Les coulisses de l’exploit”.
After a first appearance in “Le Voyou” in 1970, Charles Gérard became one of the second roles in Claude Lelouch’s films.
“There are some who return to the Comédie Française … there are some who return to Lelouch,” summarized the actor, appeared in twenty of the director’s feature films.
Lelouch will tailor his roles to the mid-2000s, including “Charlot” in the hit comedy “Adventure is adventure” with Jacques Brel, Aldo Maccione and Lino Ventura.
Supported by “Bébel”
Charles Gerard also shares the poster with his friend Belmondo, – on whom he made a short documentary – in “Flic or thug” and “The Guignolo” Georges Lautner or the “Animal” Claude Zidi .
“Jean-Paul has always been a great help,” he told BFMTV in 2013. “He took care of me, and when he was shooting a film he said ‘you need a role for Charlot.'” And Jean-Paul insisted : ‘if it’s not in the movie, I’m not doing the movie’ “.
The friends enrich their friendship with their shared passion for sport: boxing, but also football and tennis. It was not uncommon to meet the duo in the Roland Garros grandstand, a tournament during which – Charles Gerard assured him – they refused to sign film contracts.
Gérard and Belmondo appear for the last time together in 2009, in “A man and his dog” by Francis Huster.
All his life, this bon vivant will remain limited to supporting roles, often in the shadow of “Bébel” he accompanies everywhere. He claims not to be embarrassed, having “no shoulders” to be headlining.
“Charlot” appears again on the screen in 2015, in “The Last Lesson” by Pascale Pouzadoux, alongside Sandrine Bonnaire and Marthe Villalonga.
Charles Gérard, who died Thursday afternoon in a Paris hospital at the age of 96, according to Michel Godest, lawyer Jean-Paul Belmondo, was married and divorced twice … as “Bébel”.