Andre Wilms is dead

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Sad news for the 7th art! A great actor of theater and cinema, André Wilms died at the age of 74 this Wednesday, February 9 in a Parisian hospital. A favorite actor of Ari Kaurismäki and Etienne Chatiliez, he notably made a name for himself by playing one of the main roles in the film Life is a Long Quiet River. He died in the evening, his agent and his family told AFP.

Black notebook for the world of cinema: André Wilms left us this Wednesday, February 9 at the age of 74 according to his agent at AFP. If the reason for his death has not yet been communicated for the moment, it is impossible to forget this very prolific actor in some of his outstanding roles, in particular that of Jean Le Quesnoy, the father of the bourgeois family in La Vie est un Long Quiet River, by Etienne Chatilliez.

The two men had indeed collaborated a lot together. After this remarkable performance in a film that has become cult, he had participated in several of the director’s great successes such as Tanguy or Tatie Danielle, two films in which he plays the small role of a doctor. Their last joint work dates back to 2004, for the film Confidence Reigns.

But André Wilms was also the fetish actor of other directors such as the Finnish Aki Kaurismäki, who became one of his friends and under whose direction he acted four times (La Vie de Bohème, Les Leningrad Cowboys met Moïse, Juha and Le Havre).

For the anecdote, he had also learned to speak Finnish for their first film together, while this one was silent. However, when asked about the Nordic director’s way of directing, André Wilms brought out a very important sentence: “Play like an old gentleman and don’t run”.

Very prolific, the actor had played with many directors, including the most prestigious. Jean-Jacques Beineix, Patrice Leconte, François Ozon, Mathieu Demy or even Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, all offered him a role in some of their films. Claude Chabrol, too, had it turned in his film L’Enfer, released in 1994 with François Cluzet and Emmanuelle Béart.

His last film, Irradiated, was released in 2020 and was presented at the Berlinale. However, André Wilms was also (and above all) a great theater personality, brilliant actor and inspired director. In his career, he participated in more than thirty plays, performed throughout France. Very touched by the works of the German playwright Heiner Müller, he is one of those who made him known in France, by staging some of his plays.

He also claimed to be close to Germany and its culture, saying of himself in Télérama: “I’m too trashy for the French. I suit the Germans better”. A lover of contemporary music shows and precise and classical theatre, he was self-taught, an asset for him “which allows him to learn three times as many things, in need”.

Rather discreet about his private life, we know, however, that he is the father of Mathieu Bauer, also an actor, director and theater director.