Monday, February 16, 2015

Louis Jourdan 1921 - 2015

We interrupt the discussion of Brexit and foreign policy to bring you the news that one of the most talented and most underestimated actors, singers and musicians, Louis Jourdan has died. Not that he was particularly young but it is still sad.

We all remember him in Gigi, of course, but he hated the way he was always being pushed into playing smooth Latin (or just generally Continental) charmers. This track from his appearance on the Judy Garland Show is funny and the song he sings is very schmaltzy but his amusing attempt to get away from what he is known for sounds true enough.

I would say his best performance (much as I love Gigi) was in Letter from an Unknown Woman when he took the part of the smooth charmer and turned it into something desperate and tragic. If you have not seen it and get a chance, please do. It also has an astonishingly good performance from another slightly underestimated actor: Joan Fontaine.

This trailer gives some idea but only some:

And finally, yes, Gigi, but not the one the one you were expecting. At least I don't think you were expecting this:


  1. He also did one of the best portrayals of Dracula!

    Nigel Meek

    1. My word! I must try to see that. He might rival Bela Lugosi.

  2. Watching the American channel Turner Classic Movies for a number of years, I often turn to Google and Wikipedia to see of any of these actors (some my personal favourites) are still alive.

    Louis Jourdan was on the ever-shrinking list of those still with us, as was, until recently, Lauren Bacall and Rod Taylor. Mickey Rooney and Joan Fontaine, too, made the list until the last year or two.

    Now, sadly, only a few stalwarts of what has come to be called the Golden Age of Hollywood still remain: Angela Lansbury, Doris Day, and Olivia de Havilland among them. (I’ve tried to think if any leading men are still around, but memory fails.)

  3. Angela Lansbury is not only alive but is still acting though mostly on stage. A real trooper. The other two have retired though Doris Day made a record a couple of years ago.