Hossein, Robert 1927-

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Hossein, Robert 1927-
(Robert Gosselain, Robert Hosseinhoff)


Surname originally Gosselain (some sources say Hosseinhoff); born December 30, 1927, in Paris, France; son of Aminolla "André" Hossein (a music composer) and Anna Mincovschi (a pianist); married Marina de Poliakoff Baydaroff (an actress), 1955 (divorced); married Caroline Eliacheff, 1962 (divorced); married Candice Patou, 1976; children: (first marriage) two; (second marriage) Nicolas; (third marriage) Julien. Education: Studied acting at École Vieux Colombier and le cours René Simon. Religion: Catholic.


Office—Théâtre Marigny, Carré Marigny, 75008 Paris, France. Agent—Ghislaine de Wing, 10 rue du Docteur Roux, 75015 Paris, France.


Actor, director, and writer. Manager, director, and chair of Sinfonia Films, 1963—; founder and director of Théâtre Populaire and Théâtre-École de Reims (now Centre Dramatique de Reims), both Reims, France, 1970; Théâtre de Paris-Théâtre Moderne, Paris, France, 1975—. Actor in films, including Le Diable Boiteux, 1948, Rififi, 1955, Cemetery without Crosses, 1968, Les Misérables, 1995, and San Antonio, 2004; director of films, including Double Agent, 1959, The Vampire of Dusseldorf, 1965, The Secret Killer, 1965, Les Misérables, 1982, Le caviar rouge, 1986, and Cyrano de Bergerac, 1990; director and producer of theater productions, including Crime et Châtiment, 1971, Le Cuirassé Potemkine, 1975, Les Misérables, 1980, Jules César, 1985, Liberty or Death and the Heritage of the French Revolution, 1988, Jésus Était Son Nom, 1991, De Gaulle 1940-45, Celui Qui a Dit Non, 1999, and Jésus le Résurrection, 2000; also actor in stage productions and television. Military service: Served in the French military after World War II.


Prix Orange, 1963; Dominique Prize for Best Director, 1988, for Liberty or Death; Molière d'Honneur, 1995; Médaille de Vermeil de la Ville de Paris; named Chevalier de l'Ordre National du Mérite and de l'Ordre national de la Légion d'honneur, and Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.


Les voyous (play), first produced in Paris, France, at Au Vieux Colombier, 1947.

(And director) Les salaude vent en enfer (screenplay), 1955.

Crime et châtiment (screenplay; also see below), 1956.

(With Frederic Dard) Le sang est plus épais que l'eau (novel; title means "Blood Is Thicker Than Water"), Fleuve Noir (Paris, France), 1962, reprinted, 1989.

(With Gaston Baty and Catherine Gondran) Crime et châtiment (play; based on the screenplay of the same title; first produced at Théâtre Marigny, 1971), L'Avant-Scène (Paris, France), 2001.

Notre-Dame de Paris (screenplay), Gallimard (Paris, France), 1978.

(With Lucien Maillard) La Sentinelle Aveugle (biography), Grasset (Paris, France), 1978.

(With Guy Foissy, Alain Decaux, and Stellio Lorenzi) Danton et Robespierre: un spectacle de Robert Hossein (play; first produced in Paris, France, at Palais de Congrès, 1979), L'Avant-Scène (Paris, France), 1980, published as La liberté ou la mort: d'après Danton et Robespierre (produced in Paris, France, at Palais des Congrès), L'Avant-Scène, 1988.

Nomade sans tribu (biography; title means "Nomad without a Tribe"), Fayard (Paris, France), 1981.

Alain Decaux et Robert Hossein, Une homme nommé Jésus/une Représentation/par Bernard Bro (play; first produced at Palais des Sports, 1983), Desclée de Brouwer (Paris, France), 1983.

(With Frederic Dard) Le caviar rouge (novel; title means "Red Caviar"), Fleuve Noir (Paris, France), 1985.

En deséspoir de cause (biography), Plon (Paris, France), 1987.

La nostalge (autobiography), Lafon (Neuilly-sur- Seine, France), 2001.

Lumières et ténèbres (autobiography; title means "Light and Shadows"), Pre aux Clercs (Paris, France), 2002.


A French actor and director for both stage and screen, Robert Hossein is best known for creating extravaganzas for the stage, such as Jésus le résurrection and Les Misérables. Born to a musical family—his father was a composer and his mother a pianist—he spent much of his early life in boarding schools as his parents traveled on their busy schedules. Consequently, Hossein was quite lonely as a boy, but he found movies and books to entertain himself. Having eclectic tastes, he read everything from comics to more serious fiction, and he enjoyed actors such as Gary Cooper and films about Robin Hood and Julius Caesar. After World War II, Hossein searched for work as an actor. Early breaks came with parts in Le diable boiteux and Les souvenirs ne sont pas a vendre.

After military service, Hossein collaborated on novels with Frederic Dard and began to work in movies as well. His first acting role was in the film adaptation of Le diable boiteux, and he made his directorial debut with Dard's Les salauds vont en enfer in 1956. He gained more fame in 1957 by appearing in the hit French film Rififi. After working in a variety of movies during the 1960s, Hossein became founding director of the Théâtre Populaire and the Théâtre-École in Reims, the latter being renamed the Centre Dramatique de Reims. He continued to act occasionally, but Hossein's next big career move was directing and producing such large-scale theater dramas as Antigone, Romeo et Juliet, Les Misérables, and Crime et Châtiment. Later, in 1991, Hossein found himself listed in the Guinness Book of Records when his Son nom était Jésus drew an audience of 700,000 people.



Hossein, Robert, La nostalge, Lafon (Neuilly-sur-Seine, France), 2001.

Hossein, Robert, Lumières et ténèbres, Pre aux Clercs (Paris, France), 2002.


New Republic, February 22, 1988, Stanley Kauffmann, review of Le caviar rouge, p. 24.

New York Times, March 25, 1988, Janet Maslin, "Spies, Lovers and Deceit," review of Le caviar rouge, p. C10.

Spectator, November 13, 1999, Sheridan Morley, "Off- Stage Drama," review of De Gaulle 1940-45, Celui Qui a Dit Non, pp. 70-71.

Variety, January 3, 2000, Nicholas Powell, review of De Gaulle 1940-45, Celui Qui a Dit Non, p. 89.


Internet Movie Database,http://www.imdb.com/ (April 28, 2006), credit information for Robert Hossein.

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