Montand at the 1987 Cannes Film Festival.
13 October 1921
|Died||9 November 1991 (aged 70)|
(m. 1951; died 1985)
Montand was born Ivo Livi in Monsummano Terme, Italy, to Giovanni Livi, a broom manufacturer, and Giuseppina Simoni, a devout Catholic, while her husband held strong Communist beliefs. Montand's family left for France in 1923 because of Italy's Fascist regime. He grew up in Marseille, where, as a young man, he worked in his sister's beauty salon (Salon de Coiffure), and later on the docks. He began a career in show business as a music-hall singer. In 1944, he was discovered by Édith Piaf in Paris and she made him part of her act.
Montand achieved international recognition as a singer and actor, starring in many films. His recognizably crooner songs, especially those about Paris, became instant classics. He was one of the best known performers at Bruno Coquatrix's Paris Olympia music hall, and toured with musicians including Didi Duprat. In October 1947, he sang "Mais qu'est-ce que j'ai ?" (music by Henri Betti and lyrics by Édith Piaf) at the Théâtre de l'Étoile. Betti also asked him to sing "C'est si bon" but Montand refused. Following the success of the recording of this song by the Soeurs Étienne in 1948, he decided to record it.
During his career, Montand acted in American motion pictures as well as on Broadway. He was nominated for a César Award for Best Actor in 1980 for I comme Icare and again in 1984 for Garçon! In 1986, after his international box-office draw power had fallen off considerably, the 65-year-old Montand gave one of his best remembered performances, as the scheming uncle in Jean de Florette, co-starring Gérard Depardieu, and Manon des Sources (both 1986), co-starring Emmanuelle Béart. The film was a worldwide critical hit and revived Montand's profile in the US, where he made an appearance on Late Night with David Letterman.
In 1951, he married Simone Signoret, and they co-starred in several films throughout their careers. The marriage was, by all accounts, fairly harmonious, lasting until her death in 1985, although Montand had a number of well-publicized affairs, notably with Marilyn Monroe, with whom he starred in one of her last films, Let's Make Love. He was the stepfather to Signoret's daughter from her prior marriage, Catherine Allégret.
Montand's only child, Valentin, his son by his second wife, Carole Amiel, was born in 1988. In a paternity suit that rocked France, another woman accused Montand of being the father of her daughter and went to court to obtain a DNA sample from him. Montand refused, but the woman persisted even after his death. In a court ruling that made international headlines, the woman won the right to have Montand exhumed and a sample taken. The results indicated that he was probably not the girl's biological father.
Signoret and Montand had a home in Autheuil-Authouillet, Normandy, where the main village street is named after him.
In his later years he maintained a home in St Paul de Vence, Provence, until his death from a heart attack in November 1991. In an interview, Jean-Jacques Beineix said, "[H]e died on the set [of IP5: The Island of Pachyderms]... On the very last day, after his very last shot. It was the very last night and we were doing retakes. He finished what he was doing and then he just died. And the film tells the story of an old man who dies from a heart attack, which is the same thing that happened!" Montand is interred next to his first wife, Simone Signoret, in Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.
In 2004, Catherine Allégret, Signoret's daughter from her first marriage to director Yves Allégret, alleged in her autobiography Un Monde a L'envers (A World Upside Down) that she had been sexually abused by her stepfather from the age of five; his behaviour apparently continuing for many years. and that he had a "more than equivocal attitude to her" as she got older. However she also claimed to have been reconciled to him in the latter years of his life.
|1941||La Prière aux étoiles||Un gars dans le café||Marcel Pagnol||Uncredited|
|1946||Star Without Light||Pierre||Marcel Blistène|
|Gates of the Night||Jean Diego||Marcel Carné|
|1950||Lost Souvenirs||Raoul||Christian-Jaque||(segment "Le violon")|
|1951||The Red Inn||Singing Commentator||Claude Autant-Lara||Voice|
|Paris Is Always Paris||Himself||Luciano Emmer||cameo appearance|
|Paris Still Sings||Himself||Pierre Montazel|
|1953||Le salaire de la peur (The Wages of Fear)||Mario||Henri-Georges Clouzot|
|Saluti e baci||Himself||Maurice Labro and Giorgio Simonelli||Uncredited|
|1954||Tempi Nostri||Vasco||Alessandro Blasetti and Paul Paviot|
|1955||Napoléon||François Joseph Lefebvre||Sacha Guitry|
|Heroes and Sinners||Michel Rivière||Yves Ciampi|
|Marguerite de la nuit||Monsieur Léon||Claude Autant-Lara|
|1957||The Wolves||Ricuccio||Giuseppe De Santis|
|Les Sorcières de Salem||John Proctor||Raymond Rouleau|
|La grande strada azzurra||Giovanni Squarciò||Gillo Pontecorvo|
|1958||Premier mai||Jean Meunier||Luis Saslavsky|
|1959||Legge, La||Matteo Brigante||Jules Dassin|
|1960||Let's Make Love||Clement / Dumas||George Cukor|
|1961||Sanctuary||Candy Man||Tony Richardson|
|Goodbye Again||Roger Demarest||Anatole Litvak|
|1962||My Geisha||Paul Robaix||Jack Cardiff|
|1963||Le Joli Mai||Narrator||Chris Marker|
|1965||Compartiment tueurs||Inspector Grazziani||Costa-Gavras|
|1966||La guerre est finie||Diego Mora||Alain Resnais|
|Is Paris Burning?||Sgt. Marcel Bizien||René Clément|
|Grand Prix||Jean- Pierre Sarti||John Frankenheimer|
|1967||Vivre pour vivre||Robert Colomb||Claude Lelouch|
|1968||Mr. Freedom||Captain Formidable||William Klein||cameo appearance, Uncredited|
|Un soir, un train||Mathias||André Delvaux|
|1969||The Devil by the Tail||Baron César Maricorne||Philippe de Broca|
|On a Clear Day You Can See Forever||Marc Chabot||Vincente Minnelli|
|Le Cercle Rouge||Jansen||Jean-Pierre Melville|
|1971||La folie des grandeurs||Blaze||Gérard Oury|
|1972||Tout va bien||"The Director"||Jean-Luc Godard and Jean-Pierre Gorin|
|César et Rosalie||César||Claude Sautet|
|État de Siège||Philip Michael Santore||Costa-Gavras|
|1973||Le Fils||Ange Orahona||Pierre Granier-Deferre|
|1974||Chance and Violence||Laurent Bermann||Philippe Labro|
|Vincent, François, Paul...et les autres||Vincent||Claude Sautet|
|1975||Section spéciale||Un milicien||Costa-Gavras||Uncredited|
|Le Sauvage||Martin||Jean-Paul Rappeneau|
|1976||Police Python 357||Inspecteur Marc Ferrot||Alain Corneau|
|Le Grand Escogriffe||Morland||Claude Pinoteau|
|A Butterfly in the Night||Himself||Armando Bó||Voice|
|1977||La Menace||Henri Savin||Alain Corneau|
|Le fond de l'air est rouge||Narrator||Chris Marker|
|Jacques Prévert||Himself||Jean Desvilles|
|1978||Roads to the South||Jean Larrea||Joseph Losey|
|1979||Clair de femme||Michel Follin||Costa-Gavras|
|I as in Icarus||Henri Volney||Henri Verneuil|
|1981||Le Choix des armes||Noël Durieux||Alain Corneau|
|1982||Tout feu, tout flamme||Victor Valance||Jean-Paul Rappeneau|
|1986||Jean de Florette||César Soubeyran||Claude Berri|
|Manon des Sources|
|1988||Trois places pour le 26||Himself||Jacques Demy|
|1991||Netchaïev est de retour||Pierre Marroux||Jacques Deray|
|1992||IP5: L'île aux pachydermes||Léon Marcel||Jean-Jacques Beineix||(final film role)|