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Monday, 27 August, 2001, 14:02 GMT 15:02 UK
Actor and singer Léotard dies
Leotard: Released albums and published poetry
French actor and singer Philippe Léotard, who worked with some of France's top directors and won a prestigious Cesar award, has died of respiratory failure aged 60.

Léotard, who was the brother of former French defence minister Francois Léotard, made his mark in more than 70 films, including 1995's Les Miserables and French Connection II in 1975.

His interests also included singing and poetry, and he released four albums and had a book of poetry published in 1992 under the title Pas un jour sans une ligne (Not a day without a line).

Léotard, who died on Saturday of respiratory failure, is due to be buried at Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris Tuesday.

Francois Leotard: EU envoy to Macedonia
Francois Leotard: EU envoy to Macedonia
For the last month and a half before his death he had been cared for in a Paris clinic.

President Jacques Chirac paid tribute, and said: "For all French people, Philippe Léotard will remain one of our most moving artists."

And Culture Minister Catherine Tasca added that he was a "passionate, vibrant actor", saying: "From the smallest to the most important roles, he marked every one of his films with incredible presence, that of an actor with exaggerated sensitivity."

Philippe Léotard was born in Nice on August 28, 1940 in the southern Riviera resort city of Nice in 1940.

His television and film career spanned three decades and included more than 70 films, the first being a made-for-TV movie, Crime and Punishment, in 1966.


But the actor spent years battling against drug and alcohol addiction, which he detailed in a 1997 book.

"I saw him recently and he wasn't doing so well," Yves Boisset, who directed Léotard in several films in the 1970s, told France Info radio on Saturday.

Boisset said that Léotard overdosed several times and had self-destructive tendencies.

"He's the only person I know who fell into two alcoholic comas - usually you don't survive the second," Boisset said.

"But he survived and lived a fairly normal life."

Léotard also worked with directors Francois Truffaut and Claude LeLouch. The actor won a Cesar, the French equivalent of an Academy Award, for his role in the 1983 film, The Balance.

Léotard's brother, French diplomat Francois Léotard, who serves as the European Union peace envoy to Macedonia, returned to Paris on Sunday afternoon, local radio reported.

See also:

28 Jun 01 | Europe
Envoy seeks Macedonia talks
28 Jun 01 | Europe
Profile: Francois Leotard
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