Robert Hossein

Robert Hossein (born 30 December 1927) is a French film actor, director, and writer. He directed the 1982 adaption of Les Misérables, and appeared in Vice and Virtue, Le Casse, Les Uns et les Autres and Venus Beauty Institute. His other roles include Michèle Mercier's husband in the Angélique series, a gunfighter in the Spaghetti Western Cemetery Without Crosses (which he also directed and co-wrote), and a Catholic priest who falls in love with Claude Jade and becomes a communist in Forbidden Priests.

Robert Hossein
Robert Hossein in 2013.
Born (1927-12-30) 30 December 1927
OccupationActor, film director
Years active1948–present
Marina Vlady
(m. 1955; div. 1959)

Caroline Eliacheff
(m. 1962; div. 1964)

Candice Patou
(m. 1976)

Cinematic career

Hossein started directing films in 1955 with Les Salauds vont en enfer,[1] from a story by Frédéric Dard whose novels and plays went on to furnish Hossein with much of his later film material. Right from the start Hossein established his characteristic trademarks: using a seemingly straightforward suspense plot and subverting its conventions (sometimes to the extent of a complete disregard of the traditional demand for a final twist or revelation) in order to concentrate on ritualistic relationships. This is the director's running preoccupation which is always stressed in his films by an extraordinary command of film space and often striking frame compositions where the geometry of human figures and set design is used to accentuate the psychological set-up of the scene. The mechanisms of guilt and the way it destroys relationships is another recurring theme, presumably influenced by Hossein's lifelong interest in the works of Dostoyevski.

In 1967, he was a member of the jury of the 5th Moscow International Film Festival.[2] His 1982 film Les Misérables was entered into the 13th Moscow International Film Festival where it won a Special Prize.[3]

Although Hossein had some modest international successes with films like Toi, le venin and The Vampire of Düsseldorf, he was much singled out for scorching criticism by the critics and followers of the New Wave for the unashamedly melodramatic frameworks of his films. The fact that he was essentially an auteur director with a consistent set of themes and an extraordinary mastery of original and unusual approaches to staging his stories, was never appreciated. He was not averse to trying his hand at widely different genres and was never defeated, making the strikingly different spaghetti western Cemetery Without Crosses and the low-budgeted but daringly subversive period drama I Killed Rasputin. However, because of the lack of wider success and continuing adverse criticism, Hossein virtually ended his film directing career in 1970, having concentrated on theatre where his achievements were never questioned, and subsequently returning to film directing only twice. With two or three exceptions, his films remain commercially unavailable and very difficult to see.

Personal life

Robert Hossein is the son of André Hossein, a composer of Persian[4] or Azerbaijani origin,[5][6][7] and of a Jewish comedy actress from Soroca (Bessarabia) Anna Mincovschi.[8][9][10][11] He was married three times: first to Marina Vlady (then Marina Poliakoff; on 23 December 1955, they had two sons, Pierre and Igor), later on 7 June 1962, to Caroline Eliacheff, daughter of Françoise Giroud (they had a son, Nicholas, who became rabbi Aaron Eliacheff).[8] She was fifteen at the time and he was 34. In 1973, he dated for a short while Michèle Watrin, before she died the following year in a car accident. In 1976, he married actress Candice Patou, with whom he has a son.

Conversion to Roman Catholicism

At the age of forty, Hossein was baptized in the Roman Catholic Church. According to an article written by Emannuel Peze, Hossein experienced a conversion to Catholicism in 1971 during a visit to the Marian apparition at San Damiano in Lombardo Italy.[12]

In 2007, he presented a play entitled Do Not be Afraid (N'ayez pas peur) of the life of Pope John Paul II.[13] He has a special devotion to Saint Therese of Lisieux.[14]

Selected filmography

Year Title Role Director
1948 The Lame Devil a guest Sacha Guitry
Aux yeux du souvenir uncredited Jean Delannoy
1955 Rififi Rémy Grutter Jules Dassin
1956 Crime and Punishment René Brunel Georges Lampin
1957 No Sun in Venice (Sait-on jamais...) Sforzi Roger Vadim
Méfiez-vous fillettes Raven Yves Allégret
1959 Toi, le venin Pierre Menda Robert Hossein himself
Les Scélérats Jess Rooland Robert Hossein himself
Du rififi chez les femmes Marcel Point-Bleu Alex Joffé
The Verdict Georges Lagrange Jean Valère
1961 La Menace Savary Gérard Oury
Madame Sans-Gêne François-Joseph Lefebvre Christian-Jaque
1962 Girl on the Road Edouard Jacqueline Audry
Le Repos du guerrier Renaud Sarti Roger Vadim
1963 Le Meurtrier Inspecteur Corby Claude Autant-Lara
Vice and Virtue Schorndorf Roger Vadim
Chair de poule Daniel Boisset Julien Duvivier
1964 Banco à Bangkok pour OSS 117 Dr Sinn André Hunebelle
Les Yeux cernés Franz Robert Hossein himself
Angélique, Marquise des Anges Jeoffrey de Peyrac Bernard Borderie
1965 The Vampire of Düsseldorf Peter Kürten Robert Hossein himself
The Dirty Game Dupont Christian-Jaque and others
Marco the Magnificent Prince Nayam Denys de La Patellière and Noël Howard
God's Thunder Marcel Denys de La Patellière
1966 Madamigella di Maupin Capitain Alcibiade Mauro Bolognini
Angelique and the King Jeoffrey de Peyrac Bernard Borderie
Brigade antigangs Inspector Le Goff Bernard Borderie
La Longue Marche Carnot Alexandre Astruc
1967 I Killed Rasputin Serge Hukhotin Robert Hossein himself
Lamiel Valber Jean Aurel
Untamable Angelique Jeoffrey de Peyrac Bernard Borderie
1968 Angelique and the Sultan Jeoffrey de Peyrac Bernard Borderie
1969 The Battle of El Alamein Erwin Rommel Giorgio Ferroni
Cemetery Without Crosses Manuel Robert Hossein himself
Life Love Death as himself Claude Lelouch
The Scarlet Lady Julien Auchard Jean Valère
Nell'anno del Signore Leonida Montanari Luigi Magni
1970 Le Temps des loups "Dillinger" Sergio Gobbi
Point de chute the boss Robert Hossein himself
1971 The Lion's Share Maurice Ménard Jean Larriaga
The Burglars Ralph Henri Verneuil
1972 Un meurtre est un meurtre Jean Carouse Étienne Périer
1973 Don Juan, or If Don Juan Were a Woman Louis Prévost Roger Vadim
Forbidden Priests Jean Rastaud Denys de La Patellière
1981 Les Uns et les Autres Simon Meyer / Robert Prat Claude Lelouch
Le Professionnel Inspector Rosen Georges Lautner
1982 Le Grand Pardon Manuel Carreras Alexandre Arcady
Les Misérables not credited as actor Robert Hossein himself
1986 A Man and a Woman: 20 Years Later as himself Claude Lelouch
1995 Les Misérables the master of ceremonies Claude Lelouch
1997 The Wax Mask Boris Volkoff Sergio Stivaletti
1999 Venus Beauty Institute the pilot Tonie Marshall
2006 Trivial Antoine Bérangère Sophie Marceau
2009 A Man and His Dog cameo appearance Francis Huster


Foreign honours

Member of Eurasian Academy (2016).[16][17]


  1. Les Salauds vont en enfer on IMDb
  2. "5th Moscow International Film Festival (1967)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 16 January 2013. Retrieved 9 December 2012.
  3. "13th Moscow International Film Festival (1983)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 7 November 2013. Retrieved 31 January 2013.
  4. "HOSSEIN, ANDRÉ – Encyclopaedia Iranica". Retrieved June 16, 2019.
  5. Робер О­ссейн: «Нашу с Мариной Влади семью погубил русский быт» Russian: "Мой отец Андре Оссейн родился в Самарканде, хотя по национальности он азербайджанец, был очень талантливым человеком." Shigareva, Yulia (28 August 2013). Argumenty i Fakty.
  6. Robert Hossein Eurasian Academy official website
  7. "Ilham Aliyev and President of the French Republic Francois Hollande had dinner together". 12 May 2014. Retrieved 17 August 2019.
  8. "Robert Hossein et son fils le rabbin Aaron Eliacheff" (10 February 2011) Harissa
  9. According to the program Le Plus Grand Cabaret du Monde, presented by Patrick Sébastien on 22 September 2007
  10. Genealogy of the Hossein-Mincovschi Family
  11. The International Who's Who 2004
  12. Peze, Emmanuel. (1985) Published in the Marian Collection (1985) by Brother Albert Pfleger, Marist. As reported by the Mary of Nazareth project, at
  13. James Mackenzie "French Showman Brings Pope John Paul II to Stage" (20 September 2007) Reuters.
  14. Pyotr Rozvarin (19 March 2002) "A Pessimist Full of Optimism: An interview with Robert Hossein", Vremya novostei, No. 47 Retrieved 22 December 2007 (in Russian)
  15. Sovereign Ordonnance n°800 of 18 Nov. 2006 by Prince Albert II
  16. Eurasian Academy Official Site
  17. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 21 November 2016. Retrieved 21 November 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.