Jean-Louis Millette, actor (born 4 January 1935 in Montréal, QC; died 29 September 1999 in Montréal). Winner of the prix Victor-Morin, Millette was a major figure in Québec theatre, television and film.
Early Life and Career
Millette grew up in Saint-Henri, a working class district in Montréal. At 15, he met Paul Buissonneau and joined Roulotte, a travelling theatre company that performed for children. It was with Roulotte that he took on his first roles in such plays as La chose (The Thing), Pierre et le loup (Peter and the Wolf) and Aux marches du palais.
With Buissonneau,Yvon Deschamps and Claude Léveillée, Millette was a co-founder of Théâtre de Quat’Sous in 1955 (after Théâtre du Rideau Vert and Théâtre du Nouveau Monde, it is the third oldest theatre in Montréal). Over the course of his long career, Millette appeared in countless productions, beginning with Orion le tueur (1956) by Jean-Pierre Grenier and Maurice Fombeure and La tour Eiffel qui tue (1957) by Guillaume Hanoteau. He subsequently acted in plays by William Shakespeare, Victor Hugo, Georges Feydeau, Carlo Gozzi and Michel Tremblay, and he performed in the one-man play The Dragonfly of Chicoutimi by Larry Tremblay. At the time of his death from a heart attack in 1999 he was preparing to play Falstaff in Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor (tr. Joyeuses commères de Windsor) under the direction of Yves Desgagnés.
Millette’s television career began with La Boîte à Surprise in 1956, followed by roles in Le Survenant (based on the novel by Germaine Guèvremont) in 1957, Marie-Didace (also based on the novel by Germaine Guèvremont) in 1958, and Sous le signe du lion in1960. For Les Croquignoles in 1963 and then again in La Ribouldingue he created his most famous role, the clown Paillasson. He also had a principal role in the successful 1970 comedy series Symphorien. In addition, Millette acted in three series written by Victor-Lévy Beaulieu: L’héritage (1987), Montréal P.Q. (1992) and Bouscotte (1998).
While Millette was primarily a theatre and television actor, he also appeared in a number of notable films, including three by Yves Simoneau: Pouvoir Intime (1986), Les Fous de Bassan (1986) and Dans le ventre du dragon (1989). In 1989, he also appeared in Denys Arcand’s Jésus de Montréal and in 1995 he was in Robert Lepage’s first feature film, Le Confessional.