Monday, April 18, 2011

RIP Michael Sarrazin

Canadian actor Michael Sarrazin, best known for starring opposite Jane Fonda in 1969's "They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?" died in Montreal after a brief battle with cancer on Sunday April 17, 2011 in Montreal, Canada. He was 70. Among Sarrazin's other memorable roles were Irvin Kershner's 1967 con-artist movie "The Flim-Flam Man", in which he played the reluctant apprentice to grifter George C. Scott, and the Paul Newman-directed 1970 film "Sometimes a Great Notion", playing Newman's misunderstood half-brother. "Michael was one of the most talented, generous and committed actors I have ever worked with," George Mihalka, who directed Sarrazin in 1993's La Florida, told the Montreal Gazette. "He never stopped surprising me with his wit, charm and, above all, his humility and simple decency." Added his brother, Pierre Sarrazin, who produced "La Florida:". He wasn’t a particularly good student. But he was a great actor. His first high school role was in "The Bishop’s Candlestick", and he was very upset when he came offstage and everyone in the crowd was laughing. He thought they were laughing at him. They were laughing with him."

Sarrazin was born Jacques Michel André Sarrazin in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada on May 22, 1940 and later moved with his family to Montreal. In 1965, Sarrazin signed with Universal, becoming one of the last actors to come up through the old studio system. After a series of small roles in TV, his film career took off with the 1967 Western "Gunfight in Abilene", starring Bobby Darin and Leslie Nielsen. He went on to land a slew of roles, including playing a Confederate soldier 1968's "Journey to Shiloh", opposite Harrison Ford, and earned a Golden Globe nom for his role as a slacker surfer in 1968's "The Sweet Ride". That movie also starred Jacqueline Bisset, with whom Sarrazin began a 14-year relationship. Other credits included 1972's "The Life and Times of George Roy Bean" and 1976's Gumball Rally. In recent years, he primarily took on guest-starring roles in TV series. His last onscreen role was in Hallmark Channel's 2008 telefilm "The Christmas Choir". Sarazzin appeared in a guest appearance role in one Euro-western TV mini-series "The Adventures of Smoke Bellew" (1995).

He moved to Montreal from the West Coast a decade ago to be closer to his daughters, Catherine and Michelle.

2 comments:

  1. Very sad news. One of my favorite film of his...THE FLIM FLAM MAN will be getting a much deserved dvd release on 8-9 by Screen Acrhives.

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  2. He was fantastic in They Shoot Horses Don't They, and we lost Susannah York this year too. A terrible shame, my condolences to his family.

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