Skip to main content

Home Film Film News

French actor Gaspard Ulliel dies at 37 in Alps skiing accident

The César Award-winning star had been airlifted to hospital yesterday (January 18)

By Joe Goggins

Gaspard Ulliel at Cannes, 2019
Ulliel was a two-time César Award winner. (Photo: Stéphane Mahé/Alamy)

French actor Gaspard Ulliel has died in a skiing accident in the Alps. He was 37.

An investigation is underway into yesterday’s (January 18) accident, which happened in the Savoie region of the Alps, AFP reports. Ulliel was airlifted to a Grenoble hospital by helicopter. His representatives have yet to comment on his passing.

Local mountain police said they had been averaging five or six rescues a day in recent weeks, owing largely to the snow having hardened. A five-year-old girl was killed in the Haute-Savoie region on Saturday (January 15) after a skier collided with her.

A two-time César Award winner, Ulliel was known for roles in movies including ‘Hannibal Rising’, ‘Saint Laurent’, ‘A Very Long Engagement’ (for which he won his first César, for Most Promising Actor) and ‘It’s Only the End of the World’ (for which he claimed his second César, for Best Actor).

He is due to appear in Marvel’s hotly-anticipated ‘Moon Knight’ miniseries later this year, alongside Ethan Hawke and Oscar Isaac, on which photography is already complete. Additionally, Ulliel was the face of the Bleu de Chanel fragrance, and starred in an advertisement for the brand that was directed by Martin Scorsese.

Ulliel, who worked with revered directors like Xavier Dolan and Gus Van Sant, is survived by his long-term partner, the French model and singer Gaëlle Piétri, and their five-year-old son, Orso. Tributes to the actor have been paid on social media, with film critic Caspar Salmon tweeting: “What a shock. R.I.P. to an actor of considerable magnetism, talent and beauty, who had already carved out an impressive and varied career. What a loss. “

Journalist Douglas Greenwood said: “Gaspard Ulliel’s face felt ubiquitous when I was first getting into foreign films in my early teens; on fashion billboards too. Still think about his performance in It’s Only the End of the World a lot, how he carries and conceals its revelation. A strange and sudden loss.”

Ulliel portrayed Yves Saint Laurent in ‘Saint Laurent’, in one of two biopics about the fashion designer released in the same year; in the other, ‘Yves Saint Laurent’, he was portrayed by French actor, Pierre Niney, who pipped Ulliel to that year’s César for Best Actor for the performance.

In response to the news of Ulliel’s passing, Niney tweeted: “Broken heart. Gaspard was benevolence and kindness. Beauty and talent. Thoughts to his family.”

Meanwhile, the French finance minister Bruno Le Maire paid his own tribute on Twitter, which like Niney’s message was accompanied by a black-and-white photograph of Ulliel. “French cinema is losing a great talent, full of charm and energy,” he wrote.