Michel Serrault

Actor, Singer
This celebrated, prolific (over 100 films in 40 years) French actor of both comedy and drama injected an Everyman quality into numerous put-upon comic parts since the 1950s, but has also proved his mettle in a wide ... Read more »
Born: 01/24/1928 in France


Actor (78)

Local Call! 2014 (Movie)


The Ferret 2014 (Movie)


Pars Vite Et Reviens Tard 2007 (Movie)

Descambrais (Actor)

Joyeux Noël 2006 (Movie)

Le chatelain (Actor)

Antonio Vivaldi, a Prince of Venice 2005 (Movie)

Bishop of Venice (Actor)

Albert Est Mechant 2004 (Movie)


Hans Et Gus Font Du Bateau 2004 (Movie)

Hans (Actor)

24 Hours in the Life of a Woman 2003 (Movie)


The Butterfly 2003 (Movie)

Julien (Actor)

The Girl From Paris 2003 (Movie)

Adrien (Actor)

Words In Progress 2003 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Belphegor (le fantome du Louvre) 2001 (Movie)

Verlac (Actor)

Vajont 2001 (Movie)

Carlo Semenza (Actor)

Le Libertin 2000 (Movie)

The Cardinal (Actor)

Le Monde de Marty 2000 (Movie)


Les Acteurs 2000 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Les Enfants du marais 1999 (Movie)

Pepe (Actor)

Artemisia 1998 (Movie)

Orazio Gentileschi (Actor)

The Swindle 1998 (Movie)

Victor (Actor)

Assassin(s) 1997 (Movie)

Mr Wagner (Actor)

Beaumarchais: The Scoundrel 1997 (Movie)

Louis XV (Actor)

Nelly and Monsieur Arnaud 1996 (Movie)

Pierre Arnaud (Actor)

Le Bonheur est dans le pre 1995 (Movie)

Francis (Actor)

The Old Lady Who Walked in the Sea 1995 (Movie)

Pompilius (Actor)

Bonsoir! 1994 (Movie)

Alex (Actor)

Ville a Vendre 1992 (Movie)

Rousselot (Actor)

En toute innocence 1991 (Movie)

Paul Duchene (Actor)

Veille Canaille 1991 (Movie)

Darius Caunes (Actor)

Docteur Petiot 1990 (Movie)

Docteur Petiot (Actor)

Buon Natale, Buon Anno 1989 (Movie)

Gino (Actor)

Comedie d'amour 1989 (Movie)

Paul Leautaud (Actor)

Bonjour l'angoisse 1988 (Movie)

Michaud (Actor)

Ne reveillez pas un flic qui dort 1988 (Movie)

Scatti (Actor)

Cold Cuts 1987 (Movie)

Unknown Person (Actor)

Ennemis intimes 1987 (Movie)

Baudin (Actor)

Le Miracule 1987 (Movie)

Ronald Fox Terrier (Actor)

La Cage aux folles III: "Elles" se marient 1986 (Movie)

Albin (Actor)

Mon beau-frere a tue ma soeur 1986 (Movie)

Oscar Clapoteau (Actor)

Liberte, Egalite, Choucroute 1984 (Movie)

Louis XVI (Actor)

On Ne Meurt Que 2 Fois 1984 (Movie)

Inspector Robert Staniland (Actor)

Le Bon Roi Dagobert 1983 (Movie)

Otarius (Actor)

Les Rois du Gag 1983 (Movie)

Gaetan (Actor)

A Mort l'Arbitre 1982 (Movie)

Rico (Actor)

Le Bon Plaisir 1982 (Movie)

Minister of the Interior (Actor)

Les Fantomes du Chapelier 1982 (Movie)

Leon Labbe (Actor)

Deux heures moins le quart avant Jesus Christ 1981 (Movie)

César (Actor)

La Cage aux folles II 1981 (Movie)

Albin (Actor)

Mortelle Randonnee 1981 (Movie)


Garde a Vue 1980 (Movie)

Jerome Martinand (Actor)

Get Out Your Handkerchiefs 1979 (Movie)

Neighbor (Actor)

La Cage aux folles 1979 (Movie)

Albin-- (Actor)

Pile ou Face 1979 (Movie)

Morlaix (Actor)

L' Associe 1978 (Movie)

Julien Pardot (Actor)

L' Esprit de famille 1978 (Movie)

Doctor Moreau (Actor)

La Gueule de l'autre 1978 (Movie)

Gilbert Brossard (Actor)

L' Argent des autres 1977 (Movie)

Miremant (Actor)

Le Roi des bricoleurs 1976 (Movie)

Bordin (Actor)

L' Ibis Rouge 1974 (Movie)

Killer (Actor)

Operation Lady Marlene 1974 (Movie)

Operator (Actor)

Un Linceul n'a pas de poches 1973 (Movie)

Blesch (Actor)

La Main a Couper... 1972 (Movie)

Henricot (Actor)

Les Chinois a Paris 1972 (Movie)

Gregoire (Actor)

The Grand Bazar 1972 (Movie)

Manager (Actor)

The Holes 1972 (Movie)

Rondin (Actor)

Le Viager 1971 (Movie)

Martinet (Actor)

Moi y'en a vouloir des Sous 1971 (Movie)

Priest (Actor)

Un Meurtre est un Meurtre 1971 (Movie)

Inspector (Actor)

Appellez-moi Mathilde 1969 (Movie)

Chief (Actor)

King of Hearts 1967 (Movie)

The Crazy Barber (Actor)

Man Hunt 1964 (Movie)

Prof Lartois (Actor)

Love On A Pillow 1962 (Movie)

Varange (Actor)

La Belle Americaine 1961 (Movie)

Marcel's Army Buddy (Actor)

Love And the Frenchwoman 1960 (Movie)

Lawyer (Actor)

Lovers and Thieves 1957 (Movie)

Thief (Actor)

Diabolique 1955 (Movie)

Monsieur Raymond (Actor)

Room Service (Movie)



This celebrated, prolific (over 100 films in 40 years) French actor of both comedy and drama injected an Everyman quality into numerous put-upon comic parts since the 1950s, but has also proved his mettle in a wide array of dramatic roles. The latter often saw him projecting jealousy or the inability to have what one wants from life. Michel Serrault's films have almost entirely been French-made, a situation which might have limited his international appeal, but in 1978 he co-starred in "La Cage aux folles", a farce that went on to break all box-office records for a foreign language film to that date. The actor delivered a brilliant star turn as Albin/Zaza, the temperamental, middle-aged female impersonator, whose volatile yet loving relationship with his longtime companion is put to the test when they must pose as a "normal" family to please the future in-laws of his lover's son. The role earned Serrault the first of his three Best Actor Cesar Awards and he reprised the character in two sequels. (The film also served as the basis for a Broadway musical and Mike Nichols' 1996 Americanized remake, "The Birdcage", with Nathan Lane in Serrault's role).

Serrault had originally set his sights on the priesthood and spent a few months in a seminary before abandoning the calling for show business. He joined with Jean Poiret in a 1953 song and comedy cabaret act and later joined Robert Dhery's famed theater troupe. It wasn't long before he was cast in his first feature roles, supporting appearances in "Ah! Les Belles bacchantes" and "Diabolique" (both 1954), Henri-Georges Clouzot's classic murder thriller starring Simone Signoret. Throughout the late 50s and early 60s, Serrault made sporadic film appearances, concentrating more on his career as a stage and revue performer. In 1964, he first collaborated with Edouard Molinaro (who would later direct "La Cage aux folles") on "La Chasse a l'homme/Male Hunt". While he had a relatively supporting role, Serrault found some shining moments as a professor trying to make sense of the behavioral patterns of sex. His first "cult" film was Philippe de Broca's "King of Hearts" (1966), a favorite of college cineastes in the US and Britain. In the film, Serrault was a barber, one of the inmates of an asylum inhabiting a French town that an army lieutenant (Alan Bates) is trying to evacuate.

Throughout the early 70s, the actor continued to appear in featured roles, including the befuddled neighbor in Betrand Blier's Oscar-winning "Preparez vos mouchoirs/Get Out Your Handkerchiefs" (released in France in 1977; in the US in 1978). He reteamed with Blier for an uncredited appearance as the unknown man in the opening scenes of "Buffet froid/Cold Cuts" (1979). In 1981, Serrault did an about turn playing the dramatic role of the inquisitor in Claude Miller's taut psychological thriller "Garde a vue/Under Suspicion", for which he won his second Cesar, and then played Julius Caesar in Jean Yanne's "Deux heures moins le quart avant Jesus Christ" (1982).

Serrault has been one of those rare actors whose roles increased in size and scope as he has aged. By 1991, he was Jeanne Moreau's leading man in "La Vielle qui marchait dans la Mer/The Old Lady Who Wades in the Sea". The duo were grifters training a comely young man (Luc Thuillier) to be their crowning achievement, a sexy master con artist, but jealousy and lust intervene. Serrault won his third Cesar for Claude Sautet's "Nelly and M. Arnaud" (1995), playing the latter, a writer who helps Emanuelle Beart only to be tortured by his inability to win her love. The same year, he starred in the farcical "Le Bonheur est dans le pre/Happiness Is in the Fields", as a somewhat milquetoast toilet seat manufacturer who agrees to pose as the head of a farm family and enters a domestic hell. In 1996, Molinaro cast Serrault in the small but pivotal role of King Louis XV in "Beaumarchais L'insolent/Beaumarchais the Scoundrel", based on an historical incident during the monarch's reign.


Paris Conservatoire


briefly enrolled in the seminary in 1953; left to pursue theatrical career



Portrayed Louis XV in Molinaro's "Beaumarchais l'insolent"


Did dramatic turn in Claude Miller's "Garde a vue"


Had star-making role as Albin in "La Cage aux folles", directed by Molinaro


Co-starred in cult classic "King of Hearts"


Worked for first time with director Edouard Molinaro on "La chasse a l'homme"


First feature film appearances in "Ah! les belles bacchantes" and "Diabolique"


Made cabaret debut with Jean Poiret

Attended seminary briefly

Became a member of Robert Dhery's theatre troupe


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