Lonsdale’s agent announced he had died of old age, passing on peacefully at home.

French actor Michael Lonsdale, best known for playing Hugo Drax in the 1979 James Bond movie Moonraker, has died at the age of 89.

His career spanned six decades and over 200 roles between 1956 and 2019.

His long, illustrious career spanned six decades between 1956 and 2019, over 200 roles on film and on stage in his native France.

He was born  May 24, 1931 in Paris, France as Michael Edward Lonsdale-Crouch. He died September 21, 2020 in Paris.

Having an English father and a French mother, he was fluent in both languages, He dubbed his own lines in the French version of Moonraker.

Lonsdale played King Louis XVI in Jefferson in Paris, but he was perhaps better known for playing Deputy Commissioner Claude Lebel in The Day of the Jackal. His final theatrical role was in a short film for the Paris Opera, Degas et Moi (Degas and Me.)

In the 1970s, he worked with acclaimed directors including Louis Malle, Marcel Carné, Joseph Losey, Alain Resnais, Jacques Bral and Marguerite Duras. In the same decade, he was BAFTA-nominated for his supporting role in thriller The Day of the Jackal, about an attempted assassination of France’s President Charles de Gaulle.

In the film Moonraker, Lonsdale’s character Hugo Drax was an industrialist planning to poison all humans on Earth, then repopulate the planet from his space station.

He won a César Award for best supporting actor in 2011 for his performance as an elderly Catholic monk, Brother Luc, in Xavier Beauvois’s Of Gods And Men. He was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor in The Day of the Jackal in 1974.


Susan Macdonald
Susan Macdonald

Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as 26 short stories, mostly fantasy in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress ”, Swords &Sorceries Vols. 1, 2, & 5, “Cat Tails” “Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions,  Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.