Comedian Michel Côté, who suffered from a bone marrow disease, has died. He was 72 years old.
“It is with infinite sadness that the family of Michel Côté announces his passing on May 29, surrounded by his loved ones. The mythical actor, who will have marked all of Quebec with his immense talent and his insatiable passion, will remain forever present in our collective memory, “wrote in a press release Marie Routhier, president and partner at annexe Media.
“An announcement will follow shortly regarding the ceremonies surrounding this immense ordeal. No interviews and no comments will be made until this next announcement. Until then, his family and loved ones thank you for respecting their need to withdraw from public space. »
Actor Michel Côté, who has distinguished himself in some forty films and TV series – including Omertà, Cruising Bar, C. R. A. Z. Y. or even From father to cop – announced his withdrawal from public life for an indefinite period in April 2022 .
Last February, the actor’s entourage confirmed to certain media that the latter had finally received a bone marrow transplant. His relatives then placed a lot of hope on the success of this intervention. Alas, that was not the case.
It was in 1979, with their Théâtre des Voyagements on boulevard Saint-Laurent, that the actors Marc Messier, Marcel Gauthier and Michel Côté performed in the play Broue, written by Claude Meunier, Louis Saia, Francine Ruel and Jean-Pierre Plante, and directed by Michel Côté himself.
From its creation, the play set in the Chez Willy tavern was a popular success. The trio will play it more than 3300 times until 2017 before passing the torch (in 2019). Michel Côté, who graduated from the National Theater School, will play the characters of Verrue, Pointu, Fernand, Gérard and Ti-Mil.
In 2012, the Independent Network of United Artistic Events Broadcasters (RIDEAU) awarded its tribute prize to the three actors of Broue. Michel Côté then had this answer to explain the success of the play seen by nearly 3.5 million Quebecers, and translated into English under the name of Brew.
“It is a human and social drama. This is not a cream pie comedy. These guys are social lunatics. Broue is the praise of emptiness. The characters don’t say much. They are there, that’s all. It’s Ionesco, it’s Pagnol, it’s a Quebec social fresco. Taquin, he added: “The most successful show in Quebec is a play and not a comedy show, that’s phenomenal!” »
Before being caught up in the world of TV and cinema, the charismatic actor crowded the stages of the TNM, the Quat’Sous and even the Compagnie Jean Duceppe. He plays in particular in Suddenly last summer, by Tennessee Williams and The doctor despite himself, by Molière.
On the small screen, Michel Côté embodies, among others, the characters of Jean-Lou in La petite vie and Pierre Gauthier in the Omertà series (which was brought to the big screen), but he also plays in several Bye bye (from 1979 to 1986) . He will return to television in 2014 in the series The Theory of K. O., with Rémi-Pierre Paquin.
In the cinema, he plays, among others, in Cruising Bar 1 and 2, by Robert Ménard, C. R. A. Z. Y., by the late Jean-Marc Vallée, Piché, between heaven and earth, by Sylvain Archambault, The last tunnel, by Érik Canuel, as well as in the two opuses From father to cop, by Émile Gaudreault. From father to cop 2, released in 2017, will also be the last film in which he will shoot before retiring, to spend more time with his family.
In an interview with La Presse, he confided: “I will continue to be selective, but, obviously, I am 67 years old, it is normal that I am offered fewer interesting roles. I will retire quietly. But that doesn’t mean anything, because if in four years I’m offered something good, I’m going to do it. If everyone retires, who’s going to play the old toothpaste? They’re not going to pull a youngster’s teeth, though! »
During the pandemic, the actor moved to his country house in Estrie with his wife, actress Véronique Le Flaguais. The couple sold their Outremont home earlier this year.
On the tragic death of director Jean-Marc Vallée on December 25, 2021, Michel Côté told La Presse that he had remained very close to Vallée, with whom he had shot the films Liste noire (1995) and of course C. R. A. Z. Y. (2005), crowned with prizes.
“We saw each other a few times a year, even though he was very busy. We ate together, he told me his Hollywood anecdotes, we talked about our families. I think he loved me like a big brother. I made him laugh. He liked to laugh a lot. And I feel like I’m losing a little brother. I have a lot of pain. »
Michel Côté has also won interpretation awards (Jutra for best supporting actor; Genie for best actor) for his character as a father who refuses to accept his son’s homosexuality. “I had it so much in my veins, the role, that I felt like I was not playing, but Jean-Marc was always telling me: ‘Don’t change anything, it’s great, you’ll see what that is. will give.” It’s a film that I felt in the depths of my soul, “he then confided to La Presse.
The actor, who starred in plays, films and series very different from each other, was careful never to redo the same roles, despite the two sequels in which he took part — Cruising Bar and From father to cop.
When the film From father to cop 2 was released, he told La Presse: “It’s easy when you shoot a lot to tire people. You have to choose different roles each time and try to make people forget what you just did. I managed my career like that from the beginning, I never made more than one film a year. I’ve always been afraid of boring people. »
During the holiday season, he received the insignia of Officer of the Order of Canada “for his distinguished career as one of Quebec’s most prolific actors, on stage, in television and in film”.
Michel Côté leaves to mourn his wife, Véronique Le Flaguais, and his two sons Maxime Le Flaguais and Charles Côté.