Warm tributes have been paid to one of France’s best-loved actors Philippe Noiret, who has died at the age of 76 after a long illness. “A giant has left us,” said French President Jacques Chirac, who described Noiret as “one of the masters of stage and screen,” and “one of the most outstanding and captivating figures of theatre and cinema.”
Noiret, whose trademark hangdog face delighted audiences, began in the theatre making his big-screen debut in the mid 1950s. Over five decades, a string of cinema hits followed, including the hugely popular Franco-Italian comedy “Cinema Paradiso” in 1988. He was given France’s highest honour, the “Legion d’Honneur” last year.
It was the 1967 production “Alexandre le Bienheureux” in which Noiret starred as a gentle, dreamy farmer that first brought him widespread popular acclaim. He appeared in some 125 films from popular comedies to art house dramas.