Bookmark and Share

ADIEU L'ARTISTE!: Popular French-Iranian actor Philippe Khorsand dies in Paris at age 59


Paris Report by Darius KADIVAR



© photocomposition DK - Philippe Khorsand had become a popular face on Television thanks to TV Soap Opera's  aired in the 1980's called "Palace" (*) and "Merci Bernard" directed by Jean-Michel Ribes, and many supporting roles in French film comedies. He played both on Screen and on stage opposite such greats as Jean Paul Belmondo, Daniel Auteuil, Dominique Lavanant , Anny Duperay, Jean Pierre Bacri or Christian Clavier for the past 4 decades. However he truly became a household name thanks to a popular Ad for a French Insurance Company MAAF Assurances (*) where he played a cameo of his own role in Jean-Michel Ribes Palace. He passed away on Tuesday morning in Paris at Age 59. A discreet Exit for a Great Comic who will be missed.


Born to a French Mother and Iranian father on February 17th 1948, Philippe Khorsand was a Pensionnaire of the Prestigious Comédie-Française. He started acting at age 15 by taking courses at the Cours Simon ( France Theater School) and got his first role on film in 1971 in Georges Lautner's "Laisse Aller, C'est une Valse". He was to shoot 50 more films and play in more than 30 plays ten of which were directed by his life long friend Jean-Michel Ribes ( director of the Théatres du Rond Point in Paris).


Khorsand shared his career between the Theater and Films. He was a pensionaire of the Prestigious Comédie Française and performed in many classic plays of the French Repertoire ©Comédie Française


With his first Breakthrough on Television in the soap Opera "Merci Bernard" directed once again by Ribes, Khorsand took the challenge of a role for which he will probably be most remembered by fans and critics alike, that of a snobbish Grand Hotel Manager who is constantly being bugged by the same unhappy client whom he is trying to avoid in vain. It was a surreal comedy with a vaudeville twist that enchanted viewers for several seasons. 


Philippe Khorsand was to play very different characters on film directed by such confirmed directors as Claude Zidi ("L'inspecteur la bavure" and ""Attention ! Une femme peut en cacher une autre") , Claude Lelouch ("Edith et Marcel" ( a feature film made years before the more Oscar Nominated Bio Epic La Vie En Rose with French Star Marillon Cotillard ) ,"Les Misérables" ( based on Victor Hugo's classic novel), "Hommes, femmes, mode d'emploi", and "Le courage d'aimer"), Francis Weber ("Les Comperes"), Gérard Oury ("La Vengeance du serpent à plumes"), Jean Poiret ("Le Zebre"), Jacques Weber ("Don Juan") to name a few.

Khorsand's film career was less ambitious but he shared the screen with many well known stars like Christian Clavier and Daniel Auteuil who were also close friends with whom he had started off in the early 70's. ©


On Stage he directed back in 1971, "Oh ! Calcutta" at the l'Elysée Montmartre Theater in Paris. But he truly imposed his style and talent many classical plays like  "Le Mariage de Figaro" of  Beaumarchais (1980), "Leocadia" by Jean Anouilh (1984), "La Cagnotte" byLabiche (1988), "Cyrano de Bergerac" of Edmond Rostand (1997) and even in Shakespeare's "La Mégere apprivoisée" aka "Taming of the Shrew" (1992).


He was also very popular in his supporting role opposite Anny Duperay and Bernard Lecoq in the family comedy "Une Famille Formidable" that ran for more than 18 years.

Khorsand became a household name in the 80's with his recurrent role as head of a prestigious Hotel in the surreal comedy "Palace" directed by Jean Michel Ribes. He was to reprise the role as a cameo for the Insurance company MAAF Assurances which made him popular. ©MAAF



Philippe Khorsand died on January 29th at the Lariboisiere Hospital in Paris after an internal bleeding due to health complications. He would have been 60 next February. He leaves a wife and three sons and many fellow colleagues who appreciated his discreet yet very noticeable presence playing memorable characters both on and off screen.





Authors Notes:

(*) Watch:

Trailer for MAAF Insurance with Philippe Khorsand

Mes Meilleurs Copains:Comedy Opposite French Stars Jean Pierre Bacri, Christian Clavier, Jean Pierre Daroussin and Gérard Lanvin.

Other Obituaries:

Adieu Casanova by Darius KADIVAR

Benazir's Foolish Death by Darius KADIVAR

Adieu Béjart by Darius KADIVAR

French Sex Icon Anicée ( Shahmanesh) Alvina dies at Age 53 by Darius KADIVAR


Enduring Love and Friendship by Darius KADIVAR

Remembering Princess Leila Pahlavi by Darius KADIVAR

A Class Apart: Fereydoun Hoveyda (1924-2006) by Darius KADIVAR

EYES WIDE SHUT: The World of Cinema mourns for Antonioni and Bergman by Darius KADIVAR


Recommended Readings:

Philippe Khorsand :The Discreet Iranian sidekick by Darius KADIVAR

Iranian Pioneers in French Cinema by Darius KADIVAR
A Night at the Comédie Française by Darius KADIVAR

Persepolis to Represent France at Hollywood Oscars 2008! by Darius KADIVAR

Satrapi Gets Theatrical by Darius KADIVAR
In The Shadows of Cinematography with Darius Khondji by Darius KADIVAR



About the Author: Darius KADIVAR is a Freelance Journalist, Film Historian, and Media Consultant. He contributes OCPC Magazine and The MiddleEast Magazine.


© Copyright 2008 (All Rights Reserved)