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Quebec actor Michel Côté, known for film and theatre roles, dead at 72

Quebec actor Michel Côté, who captivated audiences with his roles in the theatre piece "Broue" and films such as "Cruising Bar" and C.R.A.Z.Y." has died at the age of 72. Côté is shown in this 2013 file photo with the Prix Jutra-Hommage 2013 at the Jutra award ceremony in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter McCabe

MONTREAL — Quebec actor Michel Côté, who captivated audiences with his roles in the theatre piece "Broue" and films such as "Cruising Bar" and "C.R.A.Z.Y.," has died at 72, his family said Monday.

Côté retired from public life just over a year before his death to undergo treatment for a bone marrow disease.

The actor was a favourite in Quebec, and received a lifetime achievement award in 2013 at the Jutra awards.

Quebec Premier François Legault paid tribute to Côté on social media, describing him as one of Quebec's great actors. 

"I still laugh out loud at Broue, Cruising Bar, La petite vie, but I also remember his touching role in C.R.A.Z.Y.," Legault wrote on Twitter. He added that Côté was set to receive the National Order of Quebec in the coming weeks.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described Côté on social media as one of Quebec's most revered and most talented actors, adding that "his passing is an extraordinary loss for Quebecois culture and for our entire country."

Côté's career began in 1983 with a role in André Forcier's film "Au clair de la lune," starring Guy L'Écuyer.

He appeared in at least 25 films and some 20 television series. In between shoots, he appeared on stage in the evenings to perform in the theatre piece "Broue" with his friends Marc Messier and Marcel Gauthier — which he did for 38 years until 2017.

His last film role was in "De père en flic 2," which came out in 2017. More recently, he gave an emotional tribute to the director Jean-Marc Vallée, who died suddenly on Christmas Day in 2021 and who cast Côté in a memorable role in the 2005 film "C.R.A.Z.Y." 

He was honoured in January 2022 during an emotional special on the Radio-Canada program "Les Enfants de la télé," where he appeared with his partner Véronique Le Flaguais and their son Maxime, who are both also actors.

News of the death sent a shockwave through Quebec's political and artistic communities, with many prominent personalities joining Legault in paying tribute to a man they described as a "giant" and a "genius on screen."

Denis Trudel, a Bloc Québécois MP and actor, said he had fond memories of working with Côté on "C.R.A.Z.Y."  

"Kind, funny, endearing, hard working, always a good word for everyone," he said. "A terrible loss for all Quebec."

Author Simon Boulerice published a photo of himself and Côté on Instagram, along with a farewell tribute.

"Goodbye to this great man who was so kind, with dazzling talent," he wrote. "Michel Côté was elegance incarnate. No wonder people loved him so much."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 29, 2023

The Canadian Press

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