Sep 17, 2021
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The happiest person

The happiest person

The French are inconsolable: Jean-Paul Belmondo accompanied them all his life, and there can be no substitute for him.


Jean-Paul was looked upon as a savior. A friend of his recalls how they flew in a Concorde to New York for a boxing fight. But suddenly the engine began to work intermittently, and the plane literally trembled. Everyone thought of the disaster with horror, and then exclamations were heard in the cabin: “Monsieur Belmondo, do something! This guy is superman! ” And the motor immediately calmed down, as if the Almighty had heard that the magnificent Belmondo was in the salon of the Concorde, who still had many roles to play.

Actress Marie Laforêt said that Jean-Paul was always a mystery to her. It was enough to see his name written in large letters on the poster to feel the amazing therapeutic effect. One of the leading contemporary French actors Jean Dujardin notes the same phenomenon: “Jean-Paul is the smile of France, he gave us sun and summer. Belmondo became a cure for troubles. He allowed me to get through the most difficult moments. “

The farewell ceremony for the actor in the Courtyard of Honor of the House of Invalids was led by French President Emmanuel Macron. Jean-Paul was escorted to the piercing anthem of Ennio Morricone from the movie “The Professional”, which sounds at the moment when the courageous and unyielding protagonist played by Belmondo is killed by the same deceitful, unprincipled state, the current head of which has paid him his last honors.


Jean-Paul could hardly cope with his studies, he clearly did not have a university education, and he himself was not going to become an armchair careerist, doctor or scientist. “I always wanted to be a clown, I only loved boxing and the circus,” the actor recalled.

He was born into the family of a famous sculptor and artist. His mother did not approve of his passion for the circus and sports, so she regularly took him to theaters. But familiar experts from the theatrical world warned her that Jean-Paul would not be an actor. During a school fight, a significant event happened: his nose was broken, and thus he received almost the main trait of his acting personality.

Belmondo played football for the school’s team, was a goalkeeper, but at the age of 16 decided to become a professional boxer. True, he lost more often than won. In the end, Jean-Paul said goodbye to the ring and retrained as an actor, having studied at the Higher National Conservatory of Dramatic Art. Many colleagues considered this “boxer” simply ugly. One of his acting teachers, Pierre Doux, discouraged Jean-Paul from acting. “He is doomed to failure with his bully face,” Pierre Doux argued. “The audience will laugh when they see the actress in Belmondo’s arms.” Theater critics also insisted that this guy with his grimaces will not see success either in the theater or in the cinema. How sometimes even the most experienced professionals can make mistakes!

It was a time when the country was recovering from the shocks of the German occupation; during the war years, there were many convinced supporters of the Nazis. In addition, many violent gangs have sprung up in France. The guillotine in a Paris prison regularly cut off the heads of murderers. And against this gloomy background, a “new wave” of French cinema began – actors with a bright personality, like Belmondo’s, were needed. And the American happy ending was also missing in the new French films …

One of the founders of the French “new wave” director Jean-Luc Godard challenged the rules and canons of Hollywood, so he chose the “ugly” Belmondo. And he justified the hopes of the master. Godard in 1960 changed the fate of the actor, making him his tool in the fight against Hollywood in the film “On the last breath.”

The son of Corsicans, writer, director and screenwriter Jose Giovanni, joined Godard in creating a new image of the French film hero. In 1945, Jose joined the gang created by his uncle, during one of the raids a shootout began, in which the owner of the house was mortally wounded. Giovanni was sentenced to death. At the last moment, the French president replaced the execution with 20 years of forced labor. After 11 years, he was released, but already a completely different person. Giovanni began to write dark novels, which, one after another, became films that excited the public. Almost all of them had gangs, murders, prisons. Belmondo in them played the role of tough bandits who found themselves in desperate situations.

Belmondo’s involvement guaranteed the success of the film. Claude Lellouche called its main quality the ability not to take anything seriously. He was also a great partner, which is not often seen in the movies. Jean-Paul is the only one who did not say a single bad word about his colleagues. His best friend Alain Delon was shocked by the death of the actor and at the same time offended, believing that Jean-Paul should have survived him. “It would be better if we died at the same time,” Alain regrets.


The most famous actresses threw themselves into Belmondo’s arms, including Jeanne Moreau and Sophia Loren, Gina Lollobrigida and Brigitte Bardot. He called his secret of seduction the ability to make others forget about his non-photogenic appearance.

In 1966, he divorced his first wife, the dancer Elodie Constantin, who could not stand betrayal. Shortly before the divorce, when asked if Elodie was jealous when he saw him in a film with the most beautiful actresses, Jean-Paul replied: “But she is also very, very beautiful. Of course, she sometimes arranges scenes for me, but I would be alarmed if she did not. If he is jealous, then he loves. “

“Living with Jean-Paul was like being in the middle of a cyclone,” said actress Ursula Andress. To which Jean-Paul replied: “We were young and lived in a crazy era, Ursula helped me open Hollywood, introduced me to Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Kirk Douglas. With her, I learned the world of my dreams. But I was too jealous and wanted to completely possess her. However, I stayed that way ”. Their romance lasted seven years. Jean-Paul left her when he realized that their relationship had no future. Ursula called him the love of her life.

Biographers describe his personal life as “very exciting and intense.” Women adored him, and he adored them. In the late 90s, he began to live with Natty Tardivel. And in 2001, he suffered a stroke that paralyzed the right side of his body, and lost speech for several months. He came to his senses in large part thanks to the cares of Tardivel. They say that in 2002 he married her only in order to somehow thank her for her loyalty and help. The actor showed perseverance, daily physiotherapy procedures restored his strength. Natty Tardivel gave birth to his daughter, and after six years they parted.

Then Belmondo got along with the Belgian top model Barbara Gandolfi, she was 40 years younger than him and her main goal was to profit from the actor’s money. In 2016, she and her ex-husband were accused of extorting 200,000 euros from Jean-Paul. There have been several suspicious robberies of his home. But instead of supporting the charges leveled against Gandolfi and her accomplice by the Belgian justice system, Jean-Paul maintained a close relationship with her and even helped fight off prosecution. He meant no harm to anyone.

Nikolay Ivanov.


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