Their story began by a combat of boxing. One fine day in 1948 at the Avia Club Jean-Paul Belmondo dangled a wad-pif which was to smash the nose of Charles Gérard. The friendship of Bébel and Charlot was born there, on a ring, there are now more than seventy years.
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Despite the pain of having lost last week his inseparable buddy, on September 19, exactly, the Magnificent French cinema has accepted to talk to him to Paris Match . In this interview with Christian Brincourt, Jean-Paul Belmondo, with modesty, spoke, moments of joy, the grief, and also silences laced with a tenderness that he loved to share with Charlot, “his best friend”.
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The roads of the two accomplices were thus crossed for the first time in a boxing club, the legendary Avia Club. The two men donned gloves as it should be in a place that is dedicated to the noble art Bébel remembers it as if it was yesterday: “… It is crazy today to say that our friendship started with a fracture of her pif caused by my uppercut with the left.”
The sport and the love of the sport have always been the cement of their complicity. Boxing, of course, but also football and tennis. Bébel remembers in particular the historic victory of Yannick Noah at Roland Garros in 1983. They were both together in the stadium. The memory of their emotion accomplice, is still today as intense: “When we saw Noah win, what happiness!”
Emmanuel Macron, himself, phoned me to tell me how he was sad about the disappearance of Charles Gérard. With warm words, he told me some things that have touched me in the heart.”
Bébel has also paid tribute to the career of Charles Gérard: “For a small Armenian clueless and emigrated that will lose his father and then his mother in 1942, and will follow only their coffin, our Charlot has made a nice journey!”. Then, taken by the emotion, the great actor, lists the feats of arms of his lost friend: “…Cameraman athlete for Raymond Marcillac at the ORTF, a reporter on the champions of the time and then director of a first film, A bullet in the gun , a total flop of which he was still laughing! Recognised and loved by the public thanks to Claude Lelouch, who offers him the two roles are unforgettable in The adventure is the adventure and Good year , to the side of Lino Ventura, not to mention The Incorrigible , Animal , Cop or thug or other Guignolo with me.”
Finally, and this is very rare in him, Jean-Paul Belmondo delivered a secret in revealing that Emmanuel Macron in person had taken the trouble to present his condolences: “the president of the Republic, himself, phoned me to tell me how he was sad about the disappearance of Charles Gérard. With warm words, he told me some things that have touched me in the heart.” These “certain things” the bashful Belmondo will not want to deliver the content. Because for him friendship, the true one, and his memory, not galvaudent not.
● Charles Gérard evokes the exploits of a stuntman of his friend Jean-Paul Belmondo during the filming of Animal by Claude Zidi 1977