News: Statement from National Arts Centre on the death of Jean-Louis Roux
Flags fly at half-mast at the National Arts Centre in honour of legendary actor Jean-Louis Roux
Ottawa (Canada) – It was with great sadness the National Arts Centre (NAC) today learned of the death of actor Jean-Louis Roux, one of the greatest icons of the Canadian stage.
For 70 years, Jean-Louis Roux made his mark on the Canadian cultural landscape as an actor, director, artistic director, playwright, translator, author, arts administrator and founder of cultural organizations.
Jean-Louis Roux, who was 90, was the 2004 winner of the Governor General’s Award for lifetime achievement in the performing arts. Mr. Roux performed many times at the National Arts Centre over the last four decades in such notable French Theatre productions as Molière’s Le Malade Imaginaire (1989) and Chekhov’s Le Visiteur (2000). He also directed George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion (1977) and starred in the NAC English Theatre production Shakespeare’s All’s Well that Ends Well” (2001).
Jean-Louis Roux performed in over 200 theatrical roles and more than 70 productions, including the classical works of Molière, Chekhov, Claudel, and Genet, as well as works by Quebec playwrights such as Normand Chaurette, and the English-language repertoire of Shakespeare and Strindberg. His art has transcended frontiers, seducing Quebec audiences as well as those at Stratford and in Europe… in both French and English. In addition to writing two of his own plays, Rose Latulippe and Bois Brûlés, he translated and adapted over 20 works by the likes of Shakespeare, Tennessee Williams, and Peter Shaeffer.
“Canada and Québec have lost a theatrical giant,” said Peter Herrndorf, CEO of the National Arts Centre. “There were very few artists like Jean-Louis Roux. About 10 years ago when he was president of the Canada Council for the Arts, he would spend all day chairing meetings, and then, remarkably, perform at night at the NAC Theatre. The next morning he would be back at the Canada Council table to chair more meetings. Jean-Louis was equally at home on the artistic stage as he was on the boardroom stage... he did both brilliantly.”
Born in Montréal on May 18, 1923, this doctor’s son completed his classical studies at Collège Sainte-Marie before pursuing medical studies at Université de Montréal from 1942 to 1946. In 1939, he was a member of the legendary troupe Compagnons de Saint-Laurent along with Jean Gascon, former Artistic Director of the National Arts Centre French Theatre.
He wrote screenplays for television and radio, and portrayed some 50 roles in television series such as La Famille Plouffe and Septième Nord. In film, he has appeared in Cordélia by Jean Beaudin and L’empereur du Pérou by Fernando Arrabal.
He was president of the Société des auteurs (1953 to 1962) and of the Centre canadien du théâtre (1959 to 1968), director general of the National Theatre School of Canada (1981 to 1986), and president of the Canada Council for the Arts (1998 to 2003).
He was made a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1987 and a member of the Royal Society of Canada and the Ordre de la Pléiade, as well as Chevalier of the Ordre national du Québec.
Flags at the NAC are at half-mast in honour of Jean-Louis Roux.