PARIS (AP) — France is paying respects Thursday to screen legend Jean-Paul Belmondo with a solemn ceremony led by the president and a public viewing at Napoleon’s final resting place.
The tributes for the star of iconic French New Wave film “Breathless” reflect his prominent role in France’s cultural world and in living rooms, where families gathered around his films.
Belmondo, whose crooked boxer’s nose and rakish grin made him one of the country’s most recognizable leading men, died at 88 earlier this week. No cause of death was given.
Belmondo’s career spanned half a century, appearing in more than 80 films and working with a variety of major French directors. Jean-Luc Godard’s 1960 movie “Breathless” (“Au Bout de Souffle” in its original French title) brought both men lasting acclaim.
Belmondo played roles from thug to police officer, thief to priest, Cyrano de Bergerac to an unshakable secret agent. Belmondo, affectionately known by the French as Bebel, was also a gifted athlete who often did his own stunts.
French President Emmanuel Macron called the actor a “national treasure,” and will lead Thursday’s first tribute ceremony at the gold-domed Invalides monument in Paris.
A private funeral is planned Friday.
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