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Veteran film star Michael Lonsdale dies aged 89

Veteran actor Michael Lonsdale, who starred as the Bond villain in Moonraker, has died aged 89.

The actor was a giant of the silver screen and theatre in France who worked with some of the world’s top directors.

During a career that spanned 60 years, Lonsdale worked with Orson Welles, Steven Spielberg, Francois truffaut and Louis Malle.

His roles ranged from the villain in the 1979 James Bond film Moonraker to that of a French monk in Algeria in the 2011 movie Of Gods And Men.

French actor Michael Lonsdale posing during the Paris Cinema Festival in Paris in 2011 (AFP via Getty Images)

He was the child of a French mother and British father, Lonsdale.

Known for his soft voice, Lonsdale was a man consumed by his art, making than 100 films as well as performing on stage.

French actor Michael Lonsdale (R) and US actor Anthony Hopkins during the shooting of the movie “The bunker” by George Schaefer in 1980 (AFP via Getty Images)

His final performance was in a short film last year for the Opera of Paris, Degas Et Moi (Degas And Me).

Lonsdale died peacefully at his Paris home of old age, his agent of 20 years, Olivier Loiseau, said.

“It was kind of expected … He was tired.

“His spirit was alive but his body was tired,” said Mr Loiseau, of the Aartis agency, who recently spoke with Lonsdale by phone.

Lonsdale was a man of faith and played several roles reflecting his Christian beliefs, from monk Brother Luc in the real-life drama Of Gods And Men, destined to die with fellow monks at the hands of Islamist extremists or a priest in Orson Welles’ 1962 film The Trial.

The French daily Le Parisien quotes him as saying in an interview in 2016 that he had no anxiety about dying.

“I give myself a reason. It’s life,” he said.

Lonsdale never married and had no children. Funeral arrangements were not immediately known.


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