French actor Gaspard Ulliel dies at 37 after skiing accident

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French actor Gaspard Ulliel, who became world-known for playing Yves Saint Laurent in the 2014 biopic, died on Wednesday at the age of 37 from injuries from a skiing accident, his family said in a statement.

“Gaspard Ulliel died in a skiing accident on Wednesday,” the statement said.

One of the most striking faces of his generation, Ulliel was already in the top rank of French actors.

He then gained international attention for his performance as the famous cannibal in “Hannibal Rising” and had a leading role in the upcoming Marvel TV series “Moon Knight” launching on Disney+ in March.


Ulliel won a César award – the French equivalent of an Oscar – for best actor in 2017, for the lead role in Xavier Dolan’s It’s Only the End of the World“, in which he starred alongside Marion Cotillard and Lea Seydoux.

It was his second César: His first was for most promising actor, in 2004, after appearing in the World War I drama “A Very Long Engagement” alongside Audrey Tautou.

He starred in “Saint Laurent“, one of two biopics about the legendary designer to be released in 2014, though he lost out at the Césars to the star of the rival film, Pierre Niney.

Ulliel also pursued a successful international career as a model, being the face of the Bleu de Chanel men’s fragrance.

‘Icon of French elegance’

French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday expressed his “great sadness”, hailing in a statement an “icon of French elegance”.

“He dazzled all the lenses and was at the top of the bill for more than two decades,” said a statement from the Elysée Palace.

“French cinema is losing a huge talent, full of charm and energy,” French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire posted on Twitter.


Ulliel’s peers and directors hailed his acting, as in this scene from “It’s Only the End of the World”


Ulliel was born just outside Paris on November 25, 1984, and picked up a small scar from a dog bite as a child. He said it helped him because it looked like a dimple.

He was just 11 when he started working on screen and picked up two César newcomer nominations in 2003 and 2004 before finally winning the following year.

On Tuesday afternoon, Ulliel collided with another skier on a blue ski trail, an intermediate slope, in the town of Montvalezan in eastern France, the prosecutor of nearby Albertville said in a statement. She said Ulliel was unconscious after the collision and was taken by helicopter to a Grenoble hospital, where he died on Wednesday. The other skier was unharmed.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP and Reuters)

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