Jean Louis Barrault
- Category : 1910-births
- Type : GP
- Profile : 4/6 - Opportunistic / Role Model
- Definition : Split - Small (1)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Consciousness 3
French actor, theater director and manager, considered by many to be France's greatest classic actor. His versatility and dramatic gifts delighted international audiences for more than 50 years. A veteran both classic and contemporary drama, Barrault was equally at easy with Shakespeare's "Hamlet," Ionesco's "Rhinoceros" or a bold stage adaptation of Rabelaise' Renaissance masterpiece, "Gargantua and Pantagruel."
Barrault decided on a theatrical career when he was six. In the early '30s, he studied at the Atelier, and began as a mime.
His first production was in 1935, entitled "Autour D'une Mere." During WW II, he acted and directed the Comedie-Françoise. He proved himself an excellent mime and accomplished vocal melodramatics. His many movies include "The Children of Paradise," 1945 and "The Longest Day," 1961.
Married on 9/05/1940, with his wife, Madeleine Renaud, he formed his own company in 1946; they became one of France's most enduring and prominent stage couples.
His full originality emerged as he experimented with "total theater." In 1959, he took over the Odean-Theatre de France, producing plays by classical and avant-garde writers. He brought to his personal affairs a passionate force for human rights and tolerance. During the student-worker rebellion in May 1968, Barrault sided with the rioting students, whom he let into the Odean. He was later fired as director but agreed to return at Government invitation three years later.
He died of heart failure on 1/22/1994, 7:30 AM, at his home in Paris.