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Monique Mercure, the Canadian actress who earned a Palme d’Or in 1977 for J.A. Martin photographer, has died. She was 89.
Simon Brault, director and CEO of the Canada Council for the Arts, said on his Facebook page that Mercure died Saturday night at St. Raphael’s House in Montreal, where she had been in palliative care following a battle with cancer.
“I just lost the one I’ve always been in contact with for 29 years. We were bound by an active friendship that only death could stop,” Brault wrote. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau paid tribute to Mercure, a veteran of more than 100 film, TV and stage appearances over a six-decade career.
“We’ve lost a great Canadian actress. Monique Mercure has had a profound impact on generations of Canadians. She helped promote Quebec cinema beyond our borders and her legacy will live on through her work. My thoughts are with her loved ones today,” Trudeau said on his Twitter account.
Born on Nov. 14, 1930, as Marie Lise Monique Emond in Montreal, Mercure initially studied music in Montreal and married the composer Pierre Mercure in 1949. They had three children together before separating in 1958.
Mercure moved to Paris to study acting at l’École Jacques-Lecoq in Paris, before returning to Montreal, where she had further training at the Actor’s Studio. Mercure went on to star in more than 30 French and English-language movies, including Claude Jutra’s Mon oncle Antoine and Jean Beaudin’s J.A. Martin photographe, which also earned her a Canadian Film Award in 1977.
She starred in David Cronenberg’s Naked Lunch, Robert Altman’s Quintet, Claude Chabrol’s The Blood of Others, Piers Haggard’s Conquest and François Gerard’s The Red Violin, which also starred Samuel L. Jackson.
Mercure was also a veteran of the stage, with theater credits including Michel Tremblay’s Les belles-soeurs and Bertolt Brecht’s The Threepenny Opera. She led Montreal’s National Theater School as director from 1991-2000.
Mercure was made an Officer and then a Companion of the Order of Canada and in 2006 became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.
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