Daniel Boulanger, French New Wave Actor and Writer, Dies at 92

Louis MONIER/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images
Daniel Boulanger

The Oscar-nominated writer became famous during the French New Wave movement

Oscar-nominated French writer and actor Daniel Boulanger, who made his mark in the French New Wave movement in the 1960s, has died. He was 92.

Born in 1922 outside of Paris, Boulanger was already an author, businessman and father of seven when he gained notice as an actor playing tough types in French New Wave films in 1960. That year he played a killer cop in Jean-Luc Godard’s Breathless, which catapulted Jean Seberg and Jean-Paul Belmondo to stardom, and a gangster in Francois Truffaut’s Shoot the Piano Player, kidnapping legendary crooner Charles Aznavour.

Boulanger then went on to script behind the scenes, penning 1962’s Robin Hood-style drama Swords of Blood, starring Belmondo and Claudia Cardinale, and was nominated for a best original screenplay Oscar for 1964’s That Man From Rio.

See more Hollywood's Notable Deaths of 2014

He appeared as an actor occasionally throughout the 1970s, including in Truffaut’s Bed & Board and Claude Lelouch’s Oscar-nominated And Now My Love.

A prolific writer, he continued to script for film, TV and theater through the late 1980s, including Louis Malle’s The Thief of Paris, Jean-Paul Rappeneau’s Louis Delluc Prize winner A Matter of Resistance, starring Catherine Deneuve, Costa-GavrasUn Homme du Trop and Roger Vadim’s 1976 drama Une Femme Fidele.

Boulanger came late to literature, publishing his first book at 37 in the late 1950s. He was prolific throughout the next five decades, writing novels, short stories and poetry — publishing nearly a book a year. His work often explored the trappings and minutiae of provincial society. In 1971 he won the literature prize from the French Academy for his novel depicting French country life, Vessies et Lanternes, and the prestigious Goncourt Prize for Fouette, Cocher! in 1974.

He went on to serve on the prestigious Goncourt committee from 1983-2008. His last collection of poetry, Cloakroom Angels, was published in 2012.