Michael Lonsdale

Michael Lonsdale Biography

Michael Lonsdale who starred as Hugo Drax in Moonraker

Michael Lonsdale was a French actor and author, known for his versatile acting skills and his exceptional performances in over 180 films and television shows. He was born on May 24, 1931, in Paris to a British Army officer, Edward Lonsdale-Crouch, and his wife, Simone Béraud, who was half-French and half-Irish.

Initially raised on the island of Guernsey, Michael Lonsdale moved to London with his family in 1935 and later, during the Second World War, they relocated to Casablanca, Morocco. He returned to Paris in 1947 to study painting, but instead discovered his passion for acting and decided to pursue a career in the field.

Michael Lonsdale was fluent in both French and English, which allowed him to appear in productions of both languages. He made his stage debut at the age of 24 and soon became a well-known face in the French film industry. In 1979, he became internationally known after starring opposite Roger Moore as the main antagonist, Hugo Drax in the James Bond film Moonraker (1979). Lonsdale also dubbed his own part for the French version of the film. He later appeared with former Bond actor Sean Connery in the 1984 movie The Name of the Rose, and he also starred alongside Daniel Craig in the 2005 film Munich.


Apart from his acting career, Lonsdale was also an accomplished author, with ten books to his credit. His memoir, Le Dictionnaire de Ma Vie, published in 2016, revealed that he fell in love with Delphine Seyrig, whom he had met in 1947 as a student in Tania Balachova’s acting classes at the Théâtre du Vieux-Colombier. He never married, stating that “it was her or nothing”.

Michael Lonsdale’s work in the 2010 movie Of Gods and Men earned him a César Award for Best Supporting Actor in 2011. He continued to work in the industry until his death, which occurred on September 21, 2020, in Paris at the age of 89.