Juliette Huot

Juliette Huot, actress (born 9 January 1912 in Montreal, QC; died 16 March 2001 in Brossard, QC). Huot was a pioneer in Québec radio, theatre and television.

Juliette Huot, actress (born 9 January 1912 in Montreal, QC; died 16 March 2001 in Brossard, QC). Huot was a pioneer in Québec radio, theatre and television.

Education and Early Career

Juliette Huot was born into a family of seven children. At the age of 14, she went to work for the Wilson printing company in Montréal to help her parents, Aldéric Huot and Rose-de-Lima Bélanger, support the family. While looking for something to do in her free time, she discovered the theatre and joined an amateur theatre company from the Sainte-Claire de Tétreaultville parish. In the 1920s, she officially became a member of the theatre company Les Compagnons du masque, and later in the 1930s she joined La Renaissance, which was founded by actress Liliane Dorsen. In 1935, she took lessons to further develop her acting skills at a new school of dramatic arts, the Studio Maubourg-Roberval, founded by Jeanne Maubourg.

A Woman of the Theatre and Radio

In 1937, Huot was given a role in the play Le dernier miracle du frère André written by Jean Desprez. This play, which was presented the very year Brother André passed away (see Saint André) was a resounding success. The theatre company went on a five-month tour of the province, pushing Huot to give up her job at the printing company in order to devote herself completely to the theatre. She then became a radio actress (see Radio and Television Broadcasting) where she leant her voice to radio play characters for CKAC, CBF and the CBC. Audiences came to know her in her role as Bertine in the series Un homme et son péché written by Claude-Henri Grignon (the author of the novel of the same name) and directed by Guy Maufette and Lucien Thériault. The show aired on CBC for more than 20 years.

In 1939, Juliette Huot made the move to professional theatre. She was in Fridolinades, a review of sketches, songs, parodies and monologues written by Gratien Gélinas and adapted for the stage at the Monument National, where it played until 1946. During the war years, Juliette Huot, Marcel Gamache, Juliette Béliveau, Denis Drouin, as well as many other comedic actors, were hired to entertain the soldiers who were preparing to go to the front. In 1948, she was part of the cast for one of Gélinas’ most famous plays, Ti-Coq. She would later be part of Variétés lyriques under the direction of Charles Goulet and Lionel Daunais.

Her tiny home at 1184 Mackay Street became a gathering place for many artists, at all hours of the day and night. Huot’s contemporaries considered her a warm and generous spirit. According to her friend Gilles Latulippe, she was a person that one could confide in completely.

Memorable Television and Film Roles

In the last decades the 20th century, Huot was the face of characters who had a major impact on the collective Québécois memory. One of these was Madame Sylvain in the Symphorien, a comedy aired on Télé-Métropole between 1970 and 1977. She is also remembered for her role as Germaine Lauzon in the play Les belles-sœurs by Michel Tremblay, a role that she played brilliantly during a tour in Paris in 1973.

On the big screen, she played Maman Plouffe (Joséphine Plouffe) in Les Plouffes by Gilles Carle (1981) and Le crime d’Ovide Plouffe (1984) by Denys Arcand — both were film adaptations of the Roger Lemelin novels. That role earned Huot a Genie Award nomination in 1982 for best performance by an actress in a supporting role.

Between 1982 and 1987, Huot worked on the television comedy Peau de banane, by Guy Fournier, as part of a cast that included Louise Deschâtelets, Yves Corbeil, Sebastien and Marie-Soleil Tougas. In the 1990s, she acted in several successful TV dramas including Jamais deux sans toi by Guy Fournier in which she played Marie-Ange Duval as well as Montréal P.Q. by Victor-Lévy Beaulieu in which she played Délicia. In 1996, she took up her last TV role in L’enfer de l’âge d’or, which dealt with elder abuse as part of the series Avec un grand A by author Janette Bertrand.

She was also a remarkable cook and published her own successful cookbooks. For five years, she hosted the daily television show Les recettes de Juliette on CBC.

A Committed Artist

In the 1940s, Huot sat on the Conseil de l’Union des artistes (UDA) and became passionately involved with this association. With Jean Duceppe, Paul Guèvremont and Gérard Delage, she founded the Caisse de fonds de secours destinée aux artistes.

In 1962, she began volunteering for Les Petits frères des Pauvres in the Plateau-Mont-Royal neighbourhood in Montreal. In 1988, in recognition for her devotion to this organization, a vacation home for seniors located in Oka was named in her honour: the Maison Juliette-Huot. Since 2007, a Montréal park in the Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve area carries her name, as well as an award (the Prix Juliette-Huot), awarded annually by Les Petits frères du Québec, in recognition of the exceptional involvement of a volunteer within this organization.

Juliette Huot, who so often played the mother-in-law or the matriarch in film and television, left behind a loyal public won over by her immensurable talent.

Awards and Distinctions

Prince Paul-Lieven Award for best stage actress (1938)

Laflèche Award (1945)

Miss Radio-Télévision, award given to the most popular artist following a vote by the public (1968)

Médaille de l’Ordre Militaire et hospitalier de Saint-Jean de Jérusalem, de Rhodes et de Malte for her involvement with the Petits Frères des Pauvres (1974)

Genie Award nomination for best performance by an actress in a supporting role (1982)

Knight of the National Order of Québec (1988)


Further Reading

  • Pierre Day, Juliette Huot : À la surface de ma mémoire (Stanké, 1998).

External Links