Gaspard Ulliel, French Actor and Chanel Muse, Has Died at 37

Gaspard Ulliel attends the photocall during the 5th Monte-Carlo Gala For Planetary Health on Septemb...
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Gaspard Ulliel, the French actor who once played Yves Saint Laurent in a biopic and who has been the face of the fragrance Bleu de Chanel for more than a decade, has died at the age of 37. The news agency AFP confirmed the news on Wednesday morning, reporting that Ulliel was in a ski accident in the Alps on Tuesday. According to Deadline, the actor suffered a head injury after a collision on the mountain. He was brought to the hospital in Grenoble via helicopter but did not recover.

Ulliel was born in Boulogne-Billancourt, a suburb of Paris, in 1984. His parents were in the world of fashion, his mom a runway producer and his father a stylist. Ulliel, though, decided to take another path and attended the University of Saint-Denis to pursue acting. He got his first job while still in school, appearing in a film for French television called, Une Femme En Blanc. He worked on a few more made-for-television movies and started to make a name for himself in his home country and, in 2005, he won his first César Award, the French equivalent of an Oscar, for his performance in A Very Long Engagement. Then, in 2007, he starred in his first English-language film, Hannibal Rising. Ulliel portrayed Hannibal Lector in the psychological thriller about the famous Silence of the Lambs killer. In 2014, Ulliel took on the role of Yves Saint Laurent in a 2014 biopic about the French designer. His performance in Saint Laurent got him another César nomination as well as the Lumières Award for Best Actor. In 2017, he won the César Award for Best Actor for his film, It’s Only the End of the World. This year, Ulliel will join the Marvel franchise as Midnight Man in the upcoming Disney+ show, Moon Night, alongside Oscar Isaac and Ethan Hawke.

Photo by Victoria Stevens for W

In addition to acting, Ulliel also had a successful modeling career. In January 2007, he appeared on the cover of French Vogue, alongside Doutzen Kroes. He was later named the face of Chanel’s men’s fragrance, Blue de Chanel, and starred in a Martin Scorsese-directed commercial for the brand. He was also the face of Longchamp, along with Kate Moss.

“Gaspard belonged to this new generation of actors who were making tomorrow’s French cinema,” said Thierry Fremaux, the director of the Cannes Film Festival. “He knew how to select his roles and shaped his career which filled every promise. Each appearance on the red carpet, from La Princesse de Montpensier to It’s Only The End of the World illustrated his presence, both discreet and full of kindness. He was equally brilliant and talented. He gave a lot and we’ll always remember him.”