Pierre Richard

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Pierre Richard
Pierre Richard Cannes 2015.jpg
Pierre Richard at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival
Pierre-Richard Maurice Charles Léopold Defays

(1934-08-16) 16 August 1934 (age 87)
OccupationActor, director, screenwriter
Years active1967–present

Pierre Richard (born Pierre-Richard Maurice Charles Léopold Defays;[1] 16 August 1934) is a French actor, film director and screenwriter, best known for the roles of a clumsy daydreamer in comedy films. Pierre Richard is considered by many, such as Louis de Funès and Gérard Depardieu, to be one of the greatest and most talented French comedians in the last 50 years. He is also a film director and occasional singer.

Early life

Pierre Richard was born in a bourgeois family from Valenciennes. He is the grandson of Léopold Defays who was the director of the company Escaut-et-Meuse. His name comes from the stage name of Pierre Richard-Willm who was his mother's favorite actor.[2] Pierre Richard spent his childhood and a part of his teenage years in his native city where he was a student at the Henri-Wallon high school.

Skipping classes regularly to go to the cinema, it was Danny Kaye in Up in Arms that revealed his vocation.[3] This was received with only a moderate enthusiasm by his family, but he decided nonetheless to go to Paris to study dramatic arts at the famous Ecole Charles Dullin. His debuts were far from brilliant (he wanted to play straight drama, which was not in his nature) and he studied kinesiotherapy to have a safety exit if needed, but he didn't renounce acting.

Acting career

Pierre Richard at the 31e cérémonie des César
in 2006

After a short stint as an extra at Jean Vilar's Théâtre National Populaire, Pierre Richard started his career with Antoine Bourseiller and, to augment his income, created a comedy duet with Victor Lanoux. They performed with great success in famous Parisian cabarets and music-halls sketches they had written themselves. He then began his film career in 1968 in the film Alexandre le Bienheureux (Very Happy Alexander) directed by Yves Robert. In 1970, he directed his first film Le Distrait, followed by Les Malheurs d'Alfred (1972) and Je ne sais rien mais je dirai tout (I Don't Know Much, But I'll Say Everything) (1973). He worked again with Yves Robert for the film Le Grand Blond avec une chaussure noire (The Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe) (1973) and its sequel The Return of the Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe (1974), both written by Francis Veber, who then cast him in the main role in his directorial film debut, Le Jouet (The Toy) (1976). Their partnership achieved further success in three successful comedies of the early 1980s, La Chèvre (1981), Les Compères (1983) and Les Fugitifs (1986), which paired Richard with Gérard Depardieu. Richard returned behind the camera to direct On peut toujours rêver (1991) and Droit dans le mur (1997).

Recurring names

Among his most famous film roles, Pierre Richard came to play different characters with the same name but without any link between them. He is named :

Other activities

Since 1986, Pierre Richard has also become a businessman and winemaker. He owns the restaurant Au pied de chameau in Paris and a 50-hectare vineyard which produces some 80,000 bottles a year (red and rosé) labelled as Château Bel Évêque in Gruissan in the department of Aude.[4]

Personal life

Married and divorced three times, he has two sons who are both actors and musicians, Olivier is a group member of "Blues trottoir" and plays the saxophone whereas Christophe plays the double bass. His grandson, Arthur Defays, is a model and actor.


Pierre Richard has played in all the films he has directed.

Year Title Role Director
1958 Montparnasse 19 uncredited Jacques Becker
1967 Alexandre le Bienheureux Colibert Yves Robert
Un idiot à Paris a policeman Serge Korber
1968 La Prisonnière uncredited Henri-Georges Clouzot
1969 La Coqueluche [fr] Pierre Christian-Paul Arrighi
1970 Le Distrait (Absent-minded aka. The Daydreamer) Pierre Malaquet Pierre Richard
Trois Hommes sur un cheval [fr] the painter Marcel Moussy
1972 Les malheurs d'Alfred Alfred Dhumonttyé Pierre Richard
Le Grand Blond avec une chaussure noire François Perrin Yves Robert
1973 La Raison du plus fou [fr] the learner Raymond Devos and François Reichenbach
Je sais rien, mais je dirai tout Pierre Gastié-Leroy Pierre Richard
1974 Juliette and Juliette Bob Rozenec Remo Forlani
Un nuage entre les dents [fr] Prévot Marco Pico [fr]
La moutarde me monte au nez (Lucky Pierre) Pierre Durois Claude Zidi
Le Retour du Grand Blond François Perrin Yves Robert
1975 Trop c'est trop cameo appearance Didier Kaminka [fr]
La Course à l'échalote Pierre Vidal Claude Zidi
1976 On aura tout vu François Perrin Georges Lautner
Les Naufragés de l'île de la Tortue [fr] Jean-Arthur Bonaventure Jacques Rozier
Le Jouet (The Toy) François Perrin Francis Veber
1978 Je suis timide mais je me soigne Pierre Renaud Pierre Richard
La Carapate Jean-Philippe Duroc Gérard Oury
1980 C'est pas moi, c'est lui Pierre Renaud Pierre Richard
Le Coup du parapluie (The Umbrella Coup) Grégoire Lecomte Gérard Oury
1981 La Chèvre (Knock on Wood) François Perrin Francis Veber
1983 Un chien dans un jeu de quilles [fr] Pierre Cohen Bernard Guillou
Les Compères (ComDads) François Pignon Francis Veber
1984 Le Jumeau (The Twin) Matthias et Mathieu Duval Yves Robert
1985 Tranches de vie Dubois François Leterrier
1986 Les Fugitifs François Pignon Francis Veber
1988 Mangeclous [fr] Mangeclous Moshé Mizrahi
À gauche en sortant de l'ascenseur (Door on the Left as You Leave the Elevator) Yann Ducoudray Édouard Molinaro
1990 Promotion canapé cameo appearance Didier Kaminka
Bienvenue à bord ! [fr] the hitchhiker Jean-Louis Leconte [fr]
1991 On peut toujours rêver [fr] Charles de Boisleve Pierre Richard
1992 Vieille canaille [fr] Charlie Gérard Jourd'hui [fr]
1993 La Cavale des fous [fr] Bertrand Daumale Marco Pico [fr]
1994 La Partie d'échecs [fr] Ambroise Yves Hanchar [fr]
1995 L'Amour conjugal [fr] Squirrat Benoît Barbier
1997 A Chef in Love (Shekvarebuli kulinaris ataserti retsepti) Pascal Ichak Nana Dzhordzhadze
Droit dans le mur [fr] Romain Pierre Richard
2000 27 Missing Kisses Captain Nana Dzhordzhadze
2003 Mariées mais pas trop Maurice Donnay Catherine Corsini
Les Clefs de bagnole (The Car Keys) as himself Laurent Baffie
2004 En attendant le déluge [fr] Jean-René Damien Odoul [fr]
2005 Le Cactus [fr] Christian Gérard Bitton [fr] and Michel Munz [fr]
2006 Essaye-moi [fr] Yves-Marie's father Pierre-François Martin-Laval
Le Serpent (The Serpent) Cendras Eric Barbier [fr]
2008 Faubourg 36 Max Christophe Barratier
King Guillaume [fr] William-Fernand Pierre-François Martin-Laval
2009 Victor Victor Thomas Gilou [fr]
Cinéman [fr] cameo appearance Yann Moix
A Happy Man (Le Bonheur de Pierre) Pierre Martin Robert Ménard
2011 All Together Albert Stéphane Robelin
2012 Mes héros Jean Éric Besnard
2016 Lost in Paris Norman Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon
2017 Mr. Stein Goes Online Monsieur Pierre Stéphane Robelin
2018 Mrs. Mills Albert Dupont, alias Mrs. Scarlett Mills / Mr. Rosenberg / Léonard Chomsky. Sophie Marceau
2018 Les Vieux Fourneaux [fr] Pierrot Christophe Duthuron
2022 Umami [fr] Rufus Slony Sow


  • Pierre Richard (1989). Olivier Orban (ed.). Le petit blond dans un grand parc.
  • Pierre Richard (2003). Cherche-Midi (ed.). Comme un poisson sans eau, détournement de mémoire.
  • Pierre Richard; Gwendal Le Bec (2010). Gallimard Jeunesse Giboulées (ed.). Le petit blond avec un mouton blanc. Paris. p. 75. ISBN 978-2-07-062104-0.
  • Pierre Richard and Jérémie Imbert, Je sais rien mais je dirai tout (autobiography). Preface by Gérard Depardieu. Éditions Flammarion, 2015.



  • Un jour, un destin : Pierre Richard, l'incompris (A film by Laurent Allen-Caron). Broadcast on France 2 on 6 September 2015[2] and again on 31 December 2015.
  • Pierre Richard, the quiet one directed by Gregory Monro in 2018


  1. ^ "Pierre Richard : tendre inadapté". Les Échos (in French). 7 May 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Pierre Richard, l'incompris" (in French). France 2. Retrieved 6 September 2015.
  3. ^ "L'école buissonnière a réussi à Pierre Richard". La Voix du Nord (in French). 25 April 2010. Archived from the original on 2 November 2013.
  4. ^ "Château Bel Évêque" (in French). Gault Millau. Retrieved 5 August 2016.

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