French actor Michael Lonsdale, best known internationally for starring as the James Bond villain Hugo Drax in 1979's Moonraker with Roger Moore, has died. He was 89. Lonsdale was also known for his roles in The Day of the Jackal and The Remains of the Day. In 2011, Lounsdale's performance in Of Gods and Men earned him the Best Supporting Actor honor at France's Cesar Awards.
Lonsdale's agent confirmed the actor's death to the AFP, reports Variety. He was born to an English father and French mother in Paris in 1931 and began his acting career in 1956. He appeared in over 200 movies and television shows, working with some of the most acclaimed directors in movie history. He worked with Orson Welles on The Trial (1962) and was directed by Rene Clement in Is Paris Burning? (1964). He made two films with Francois Truffaut, The Bride Wore Black (1968), and Stolen Kisses (1968). He also worked with Alain Robbe-Grillet, Alain Resnais, Luis Bunuel, Marguerite Duras, and Costa-Gavras.
View this post on Instagram
Lonsdale also worked with several international filmmakers. He worked with John Frankenheimer twice, appearing in 1985's The Holcroft Covenant and 1998's Ronin, which starred Robert De Niro. Lonsdale starred in the Merchant-Ivory productions The Remains of the Day (1993) and Jefferson in Paris (1995). In 2005, he worked with Steven Spielberg on Munich, the director's film about the Israeli government's response to the bombings at the 1972 Summer Olympics. Lonsdale's last film was 2016's The First, The Last, directed by Jean-Berchmans.
In 1979, Lonsdale played the villain in Moonraker, the James Bond film famous for taking 007 to space. The film was the highest-grossing James Bond movie of all time until 1995's GoldenEye broke its record. "We are very sad to learn of the passing of Michael Lonsdale, who played Hugo Drax in Moonraker. He was an extraordinarily talented actor and a very dear friend. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time," Bond producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli said in a statement.
Terribly saddened to learn Michael Lonsdale has also passed away today. As Hugo Drax he was a smooth-tongued and cultured adversary to 007 in Moonraker. pic.twitter.com/qoBbziZlZ9— Sir Roger Moore (Legacy) (@sirrogermoore) September 21, 2020
"Terribly saddened to learn Michael Lonsdale has also passed away today," Moore's estate added on Twitter. "As Hugo Drax he was a smooth-tongued and cultured adversary to 007 in Moonraker."