One of the brightest stars in French cinema has dimmed. Gaspard Ulliel has died following a serious ski accident, according to news agency AFP (per Deadline). He was just 37. The actor was hospitalized on Tuesday (Jan. 18) after suffering a head injury on the slopes in the Savoie region. He was transported via helicopter to a hospital in Grenoble. Gaspard’s death was later confirmed by the actor’s family and local agent.
Sadly, there aren’t many more details about the fatal accident. Gaspard leaves behind a family, including a son with French model and singer Gaëlle Piétri. As the world mourns the loss of this shining talent, here’s what you should know about Gaspard.
Born on Nov. 25, 1984, per IMDB, Gaspard grew up surrounded by the arts. His mother was a runway show producer, and his father was a fashion designer. It seemed like he was destined to wind up in front of a camera. His first listed role was in 1997, a part of Mission protection rapprochée. He would appear in Brotherhood of the Wolf, A Very Long Engagement, The Last Day, and Hannibal Rising, portraying the titular Hannibal Lecter in the Silence of the Lambs prequel.
Gaspard won the Lumières Award for Best Actor and a César Award for Best Actor nomination for his portrayal of fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent in the 2014 biopic, Saint Laurent. Gaspard earned critical acclaim for his part in 2016’s It’s Only the End of the World, and he won the César Award for Best Actor.
Gaspard was on the verge of reaching a new level of professional success. After winning awards for his acting prowess, he was poised to become a pop-culture fixture, thanks to the upcoming Moon Knight series. Starring alongside Oscar Issac (who plays the titular Moon Knight) and Ethan Hawke, Gaspard portrays Anton Morgart/Midnight Man in the Disney+ series.
Gaspard’s last projects include Plus que jamais (More Than Ever). He was also cast in La Bête, a sci-fi melodrama listed as being in pre-production at the time of his death.
“I started completely by chance when I was 11,” Gaspard said in an interview with Eugénie Poumaillou for Crash magazine. “One of my mother’s friends had opened an agency for actors and was looking for youngsters. I had no intention of being an actor, but I thought, ‘Why not give it a try?’ So I was soon doing castings and got small parts in a number of television films. I remember that I really enjoyed those first experiences.” After Gaspard completed school, he spent two years “at the cinema faculty at St Denis.”
“I’ve also taken increasing pleasure in working as an actor — I find that really interesting,” he said. “I still want to direct, but in fact with everything that’s been happening to me I’ve tended to go for the acting, since I’ve still got plenty of time for the rest.”
With parents in the fashion industry, it was only a matter of time before Gaspard got involved. He became the face of Chanel’s Bleu de Chanel fragrance campaign. “Chanel is the greatest fashion house in France, but I was hesitant when they first asked me,” he told British Vogue in 2011. “I thought it could be risky for me to do a fashion campaign. I’m not like Brad Pitt or Gerard Depardieu, who already have established themselves as actors – I’m just starting.”
“I didn’t want to be known as a Chanel model, over an actor, but I told myself it was the perfect project,” he added. “Chanel is classy and highly respected. I like being associated with a fragrance more than I think I would with clothes, it’s more abstract, you know?”
When asked who his favorite directors were, Gaspard told crash, “Tarkovski. The New Wave, Truffaut, Godard, Rohmer. And Chris Marker. There’s also a Portuguese director I like a lot: João César Monteiro. He’s wild, really special. And there’s Murnau’s Sunrise, really impressive.” He said he also listens to “reggae, rap, soul, lots of jazz. I came round to rock not long ago. These days I mix a bit of everything. I really like Kanye West’s latest album, and I love Herbie Hancock, the Temptations, Nick Drake, the Stones, and especially Prince!”
When asked if he would do “the same all over again,” if offered the chance, Gaspard reflected on the question. “I’ve got many reasons to say yes and few to say no, so I’ll stick with the yes. But if I had the choice again I’d really like to do architecture,” he said.