News: Michael Lonsdale, veteran TV and film star, has died
Not long after the passing of Dame Diana Rigg, the industry (and 2020) suffers another sad loss with the news British/French actor Michael Lonsdsale has passed away aged 89 at his home in Paris.
Michael Lonsdale was born in Paris to an English Army officer father and half-French, half-Irish wife. Following an upbringing during the Second World War, he and his family returned to Paris in the late 1940s.
His passion for acting developed during the 1950s in local theatre work while he studied painting and art; yet treading the boards was more Michael's vocation. He worked in Paris as an actor for theatre companies, and landed his first on-screen film part in the 1956 French comedy 'It Happened in Aden'.
While his main area of work was French film, being bilingual, Michael was able to work on British films in genres such as war, historic drama and comedy. He continued to work more and more through the 60s and 70s, building his profession and reputation for being a very imposing screen presence, and having a permanent air of mystery to his characters. This was due to his wonderful ability to blend quiet drama and emotion with a grounded performance, giving everything he had in the delivery of the script and investment in the story he was helping to portray.
This came to light on an international scale when Michael was cast in the 1979 James Bond adventure 'Moonraker' as villain Sir Hugo Drax. While Drax was outlandish on script as a billionaire industrialist out to destroy mankind and create a new breed of superhumans to re-inherit the Earth, Michael created one of the most memorable villains not just of the Roger Moore era, but also the entire near 60 year franchise.
He was laced with menace, slow-burning and calm when faced with opposition, and you could truly believe this man was nothing but a danger to the world.
Michael continued to act right through to 2016, appearing again in international and domestic hits such as 1998s 'Ronin', 2005s 'Munich' and 2010s 'Of Gods and Men', in which he won the a coveted César Award for Best Supporting Actor.
But it wasn't just acting that Michael had a passion for; he also was the author of ten books for both adults and children, exploring everything from French culture, religion and fictional adventures such as 'Poesies de Notre Enfance' and 'Jésus, lumière de vie.'
Unmistakable on screen thanks to his charm, his roguish appearance and deep voice, Michael has cemented his legacy in the industry and will be sorely missed by all.