Robert Hossein

Robert Hossein

A famous leading man in French cinema known for playing world-weary villains, as in the crime classic "Rififi," Robert Hossein is also an accomplished director, having helmed a 1982 version of "Les Misérables." Hossein studied acting at René Simon's school and cut his teeth as an actor and director at the famed Theatre Grand Guignol. After a few screen appearances, Hossein truly arrived on the European cinema scene with the role of Remi Grutter in Jules Dassin's noir thriller "Rififi." That same year, Hossein launched his directing career with the sexy drama "The Wicked Go to Hell," while he continued to appear onscreen in dozens of films in the '60s. Hossein often played the part of the romantic leading man opposite some of Europe's top screen sirens, including Brigitte Bardot, Sophia Loren, and, in the 1973 romantic melodrama "Forbidden Priests," Claude Jade. His steady writing and directing career hit its high water mark in 1982 with his adaptation of Victor Hugo's tragedy "Les Misérables," which won Hossein a Cesar award for adapted screenplay; this was the highest honor his off-camera work received, as his auteur sensibilities were often viewed as too idiosyncratic. In 1981 he appeared in one of the biggest films of his career, playing the dual role of Simon Meyer and Robert Prat in Claude Lelouch's Cannes-winning epic musical " Les Uns et les Autres." Hossein's work became more sporadic after this, with only occasional roles lining his resume.