Celebrated Quebec actor Michel Côté, who made his mark with roles in the films Cruising Bar and C.R.A.Z.Y., died on Monday. He was 72 years old.
His family announced his death this morning in a statement. The Alma, Que., native had retired from public life in April 2022 due to bone marrow disease.
The popular Quebec actor was honoured with a Jutra award for excellence in cinema in 2013.
“What I like is his unique way of vanishing completely into a character, and there are few actors in the world who know how to do that,” actor Rémi Girard said of Côté, at the award show.
On Twitter, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Côté was “one of Quebec’s most revered and most talent actors,” calling his death “an extraordinary loss for Québécois culture and for our entire country.”
Without question, Michel Côté was one of Quebec’s most revered – and most talented – actors. His passing is an extraordinary loss for Quebecois culture and for our entire country. My condolences to his family, friends, and many fans.
Côté’s movie career began in 1983, with a lead role in André Forcier’s Au clair de la lune, starring Guy L’Écuyer.
He was honoured in January 2022 during an emotional edition of Les Enfants de la télé, where he was accompanied by his wife and actress Véronique Le Flaguais, and their son Maxime Le Flaguais, also an actor.
Côté appeared in at least 25 films and some 20 TV shows. For nearly 40 years, he performed in the attendance-breaking play Broue with fellow actors Marc Messier and Marcel Gauthier — between film shoots.
The success of the play, first performed in 1979, landed the actor a place in several editions of Bye Bye, Quebec’s New Year’s Eve sketch comedy special.
Côté’s last film was 2017’s Canadian box office-breaking De père en flic 2, a sequel to what is widely considered the greatest success in French-language cinema in Canada.
More recently, Côté paid a tribute to director Jean-Marc Vallée who had offered him the iconic role in 2005’s C.R.A.Z.Y.