Alain Decaux and Robert Hossein in June 2005, a year before the premiere of their Ben-Hur at the Stade de France.
SIMON ISABELLE / SIPA
His artistic heart beat measure for excess.
Robert Hossein, who died Thursday at the age of 93, leaves behind a career as an actor on the boards and on the screen.
But he will also have marked the spirits with his great shows, real blockbusters, which attracted crowds.
700,000 spectators for
A man named Jesus
(1983), 600,000 for
L'affaire du mail de Lyon
(1987), 480,000 for
Notre Dame de Paris
(1978), 300,000 for the five performances of
in 2006… Attendance figures had something to make you dizzy.
Robert Hossein who, at the age of 15, decided to devote himself to dramatic art had created in Reims in the early 1970s his “popular theater” and a school through which Anémone and Isabelle Adjani passed.
His slogan was then "theater as in cinema!"
A vision that made him mix lights, music, classical texts and great feelings.
Eight years and seventeen creations later, Reims was recognized as a national scene and the subsidies poured in but the artist decided to leave.
From 1978, he then put on a show every two years in gigantic rooms where he preached hope.
From Julius Caesar to John Paul II, he mostly tells, with the historian Alain Decaux, historical figures.
His work has become a mass theater speaking to the heart.
“The Earth is in danger of death.
I said to myself: we need a universal awareness to get us out of the shit and reorganize the Earth, the sand, the sea and everyone, ”he proclaimed in his rocky voice.
At the age of 50, at the end of the 1970s, he had chosen to be baptized at the same time as his son Julien, born of a third marriage.
"I am not the one putting on the show, God helps me with everything", this mystical and often bombastic humanist liked to repeat.
His last show,
A Woman Named Marie
, performed only one evening in August 2011, had been seen by 25,000 people in Lourdes.
He said: "If the public comes out of my shows with the desire to love their neighbor a little more, with the desire to fight for more brotherhood, with the disgust of injustice and inequality , so I'm happy, I think I was useful ”.
A final farewell to Claude Brasseur, actor "so loved by the French"
Claude Brasseur, a great "endearing actor" with a memorable voice