It is one of the emblematic faces of the small screen. However, Patrice Laffont has known several lives in his long career. Originally, he made his debut as an actor by landing roles in the cinema: Le Soupirant by Pierre Etaix, Les Vierges by Jean-Pierre Mocky, or Le Gendarme de Saint-Tropez with Louis de Funès and Geneviève Grad.
“I was a student actor at Cours Furet in Paris, when the director Jean Girault came to complete his casting”, confided the interpreter of Jean-Luc in the saga tropézienne, with the Parisian in 2018. “He asked me to pass the tests and offered me the role of the lover of Nicole (Geneviève Grad), the daughter of Cruchot (Louis de Funès). I had then only shot in two films and for me, it was a madness!”.
After the comedy, it is towards the song that Patrice Laffont chooses to turn. Not far from wanting to push the song, he surrounds himself with his singer friends like Michel Fugain and Michel Sardou, thanks to their meeting with the producer Armand Jammot. He lent his pen to the son of Jacky Sardou for whom he wrote “a dozen songs”, as he entrusted to Faustine Bollaert on France 2.
“I had never written lyrics in my life, and it went like that,” he said in It starts today in January 2021, before acknowledging with a smile. “Unfortunately, they didn’t work at all.” Despite this failure, it is ultimately on television that the ex-lyricist will experience the best years of his career.
It was thanks to his “second TV dad” Armand Jammot that Patrice Laffont made his debut in 1972. First an assistant, juggling between coffees, he was then offered a place on the air on the show numbers and letters. A cult program that he presented for several years until 1989. The following year, the host set off on the adventure of Fort Boyard, which he presented with several co-hosts (Valérie Pascale, Sophie Davant, Cendrine Dominguez) until 1999.
“When I left the Fort, the producer told me that I was crazy, she had pierced me well, and that I could stay for a few more years. But all of a sudden, I couldn’t take it anymore. . I had done the trick”, tells the octogenarian to the Parisian for the 30th anniversary of the game in 2019. The opportunity for him to return to the Fort, with his friend and successor Olivier Minne, to embody Hibernatus during the anniversary season .
A man of entertainment and today a successful actor, Patrice Laffont remains a key figure in the PAF. Besides, what is the program that has marked you the most in your life? For the occasion, Planet reveals 5 of the highlights of his career in pictures in our slideshow.