The hero of swashbuckling cinema, the unforgettable “D’Artagnan”, actor Gérard Barray, has died

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Died on February 15 in Marbella, Spain, at the age of 92, Gérard Barray rose to fame in the 1960s playing the role of D’Artagnan in “The Three Musketeers.” Born in 1931 in Toulouse, to a father from Tarn and a mother from Tarn-et-Garonnaise, the actor grew up in Montauban, where he married in 1965 and where he maintained many ties. One of his closest friends, the actor and screenwriter François-Henri Soulié, paid tribute to him.

Heroes die too. Gérard Barray, who died this Thursday, February 15 in Marbella, Spain, where he had lived since 1990, was one of them. Popular swashbuckling movie star of the 1960s, the actor wonderfully played the role of a big-hearted knight. Of course, it is his portrayal of the most famous Gascon hero in Bernard Borderie’s “The Three Musketeers” (1961) that remains in his memory.

Born in 1931 in Toulouse, Gérard Barray (real name Gérard-Marcel-Louis Baraillé) grew up in Montauban, the city where his mother was born. He established strong friendships in the city of Ingres. One of his closest friends, the actor and screenwriter François-Henri Soulié, salutes his memory.

“D’Artagnan, he will never die!”

“Gérard Barray liked to recover this word that accompanied a drawing that a child had given him in the years of his glory. This February 15, in Marbella, it is not D’Artagnan who died but who he had incarnated with so much grace and grace.

Gérard Barray is no more, but the boy was right. The characters are immortal. And without a doubt it is the privilege of cinema to leave us its kind ghosts to console us as best we can for the actor’s disappearance. Thus, Scaramouche, Surcouf, the Duke of Vallombreuse, the Chevalier de Pardaillan and even the commissioner Saint Anthony – to name only the most illustrious – will forever retain the charming smile of the man who was their brilliant interpreter.

In 1960 there was a movie, mouth watering by Jacques Doniol-Valcroze who inaugurated Gérard’s career, but it was the great Edwige Feuillère who made him famous by entrusting him with the role of Stanislas in the revival of The two-headed eagle by Jean Cocteau. On opening night at the Sarah Bernhardt Theatre, the astonished “All Paris” discovered this almost unknown young man from Montalban and turned him into a star overnight.

From film to film, his fame became international. This is how he met on the set of Rio Grande Mercenaries by Robert Siodmak, the magnificent Spanish actress and dancer Teresa Lorca. They married in Montauban in 1965.

The following year, Jean Marais handed him the baton of swashbuckling cinema during some anthology duels, directed by Pierre Gaspard-Huit, in Captain Smashes. Popular success was immediate and continued for more than a decade.

In the theater, in the cinema, on television, as an actor, duelist, horseman or even a specialist, Gérard Barray added to his personal charisma the demanding rigor of the professional. From film to film, his fame became international. This is how he met on the set of Rio Grande Mercenaries by Robert Siodmak, the magnificent Spanish actress and dancer Teresa Lorca. They married in Montauban in 1965. Marie and Julien are the children of this love story that lasts almost sixty years. Many of us today share your pain.

Among all the fairies who bent over Gérard’s crib (and there were many), one failed him. The one with pride. Too modest, no doubt, in a world that maintains its notoriety by the noise we make around us, Gérard Barray had difficulty maintaining the glory of his beginnings. Discretion and delicacy do not go well with notoriety. The actor paid the price until luck was with him in Spain in the 90s. And it was Alejandro Amenábar’s film, Open your eyes (Open your eyes) that relaunched his career.

Despite the vicissitudes, Gérard remained true to himself, refined, generous and always available to others.

Also read:
Montauban greeted Gérard Barray, hero of swashbuckling cinema

Paying tribute to him today is equivalent, for me, to painting the portrait of an unbreakable friendship. He had honored me with his since my adolescence, with that elegance of heart that characterized him. I had the opportunity to direct him in 1990 in his work The hero of love., prefaced by his great friend Frédéric Dard. The creation at the Théâtre de Montauban – which did not yet bear the name of Olympe de Gouges – was for Gérard an opportunity to reconnect with the public of his city that he loved so much. I also accompanied him when he offered the bust of him sculpted by Marc Dautry to the city council. Finally, he asked me to represent him when the city of Reyniès named the town hall of his town after him. Tiredness had prevented him from going himself, although he would have loved to rediscover the landscape of the vacations of his youth.

I leave it to the biographers to establish the list of plays, television series and the thirty films in which he acted. For my part, I like to remember the friend’s last confidence telling me, with a smile on his lips: “On my grave I would like them to put this: I DID NOT UNDERSTAND ANYTHING ABOUT THE FILM.”

Actor rather than obstetrician

Born in 1931 in Toulouse, Gérard Barray (real name Gérard-Marcel-Louis Baraillé) grew up in Montauban, the city where his mother was born. His father, an artistic engineer born in Mazamet (Tarn), ran a factory in Toulouse between the wars. The couple quickly separate and Gérard follows his mother to Montauban. The latter, a graduate in classical sciences, is resuming her studies in midwifery. She would later run a birth clinic in Montauban.

The young man began studying obstetrics with the aim of taking over his mother’s clinic, but his tastes led him more towards jazz (music he discovered at the age of 15 for which he had a true passion), theater and comedy. It was Camille Ricard, the actress turned professor at the Toulouse conservatory, who convinced him to try his luck in Paris, armed with a letter of recommendation for one of his friends, Noël Roquevert. Admitted to the Simon course, Gérard Barray made his stage debut in 1955, at the Hébertot theatre, in a play by Oscar Wilde. It won’t be long before the cinema gives it a chance.

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