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07 April 2016

Gérard Barray

French comedian and film and television actor Gérard Barray (1931) was one of the swashbuckling heroes of the French cinema. During the 1960s, he starred as D’Artagnan and Scaramouche, but also in many Eurospy films.

Gérard Barray
East-German postcard by Progress Film-Verleih, Berlin, no. 2915, 1967.

Gérard Barray
Small Romanian collector's card. Photo: publicity still for Les trois mousquetaires/The Three Musketeers (Bernard Borderie, 1961).

Anna Karina and Gérard Barray in Sheherazade (1963)
Small Romanian collector's card. Photo: publicity still for Sheherazade (Pierre-Gaspard-Huit, 1963) with Anna Karina.

Gérard Barray
East-German postcard by Progress Film-Verleih, Berlin, no. 2260, 1965. Photo: Schwarz.

The Three Musketeers


Gérard Barray was born Gérard Marcel Louis Baraillé in Toulouse, France, in 1931. Barray's parents split up quickly and his mother, who came from Montauban decided to return to her hometown with her little boy.

Around the age of 15, he discovered a passion for jazz. Barray participated in a few shows in nightclubs while pursuing his studies and obtained a bachelor's degree at the Faculty of Toulouse. Camille Ricard, an actress and teacher at the Conservatory of Toulouse, advised him to go to Paris. She gave him a letter of recommendation for a friend, actor Noel Roquevert.

Barray enrolled at the Cours Simon, a drama school in Paris. Four years later, Gérard Barray won the Jury Prize. In 1955, he played his first small film roles as a gigolo in Chantage/Blackmail (Guy Lefranc, 1955) and as a gangster in the Film Noir Série noire/The Infiltrator (Pierre Foucaud, 1955) with Henri Vidal and Erich von Stroheim.

His first major film role was as the duke of Vallombreuse in the historical adventure film Le Capitaine Fracasse/Captain Fracasse (Pierre Gaspard-Huit, 1961), starring Jean Marais and based on a novel by Théophile Gautier. The film and Barray’s supporting role were a success and next he played the lead in another prestigious historical adventure, Les trois mousquetaires/The Three Musketeers (Bernard Borderie, 1961), a film adaption of the classic novel by Alexandre Dumas, père.

Reviewer jrjcat at IMDb: “This is a wonderful faithful version of Alexandre Dumas' The Three Musketeers. Gerard Barray is excellent as D'Artagnan and Mylene Demongeot is not only one of the most beautiful screen Milady de Winters rivalling that of Lana Turner but also excellent in the part as well.” Les trois mousquetaires became the sixth biggest French box office in 1961. A star was born.

During the 1960s Barray excelled in roles of knights with a big heart such as D'Artagnan, Scaramouche and Surcouf. These films include the Italian-French Alexandre Dumas adaptation I fratelli Corsi/The Corsican Brothers (Anton Giulio Majano, 1961) also starring Geoffrey Horne and Valérie Lagrange, Shéhérazade (Pierre Gaspard-Huit, 1963) starring Anna Karina, La máscara de Scaramouche/The Adventures of Scaramouche (Antonio Isasi-Isasmendi, 1963) and Le chevalier de Pardaillan/Clash of Steel (Bernard Borderie, 1962) plus its sequel Hardi Pardaillan!/The Gallant Musketeer (Bernard Borderie, 1964).

Gérard Barray and Yvette Lebon in La máscara de Scaramouche (1963)
East-German postcard by Progress Film-Verleih, Berlin, no. 3034 1968. Photo: publicity still for La máscara de Scaramouche/The Adventures of Scaramouche (Antonio Isasi-Isasmendi, 1963) with Yvette Lebon.

Gérard Barray and Valérie Lagrange in Hardi Pardaillan! (1964)
East-German postcard by Progress Film-Verleih, Berlin, no. 2961, 1967. Photo: publicity still for Hardi Pardaillan!/The Gallant Musketeer (Bernard Borderie, 1964) with Valérie Lagrange.

Gérard Barray and Geneviève Casile in Surcouf, l'eroe dei sette mari (1966)
East-German postcard by Progress Film-Verleih, Berlin, no. 2828, 1967. Photo: publicity still for Surcouf, l'eroe dei sette mari/The Sea Pirate (Sergio Bergonzelli, Roy Rowland, 1966) with Geneviève Casile.

Gérard Barray
Romanian postcard by Casa Filmului Acin, no. 454. Photo: publicity stil for Béru et ces dames/Beru and These Women (Guy Lefranc, 1968).

Next Time I'll Kill You


During the 1960s, Gérard Barray starred in a dozen feature films, most of which were box-office successes and widely known abroad. Besides Swashbucklers, he became one of the Eurospy stars with his roles in thrillers like Gibraltar (Pierre Gaspard-Huit, 1964) with Hildegard Knef and Baraka sur X 13/Agent X-77 Orders to Kill (Maurice Cloche, 1966) opposite Sylva Koscina.

He also starred as police commissioner San Antonio films in the thrillers Sale temps pour les mouches/Next Time I'll Kill You (Guy Lefranc, 1966) and Béru et ces dames/Beru and These Women (Guy Lefranc, 1966), both with Jean Richard. He continued to play in popular Swashbucklers such as the French-Italian-Spanish adventure film Surcouf, le tigre des sept mers/The Sea Pirate (Sergio Bergonzelli, Roy Rowland, 1966) with Antonella Lualdi.

In 1969, he played a mysterious museum curator who seduces a young English teacher (Claude Jade) in Le Témoin/The Witness (Anne Walter, 1969). It was his last major role. Daniel Denner at IMDb: “he changed his profile to the dark side as Van Britten - his most interesting part, but without great success.” For Claude Berri he appeared in the supporting role of Richard, a rather temperamental star actor in Le cinéma de papa (1970), but mostly he worked for TV.

Decades later he made a comeback in the cinema opposite Eduardo Noriega and Penélope Cruz in Abre los ojos/Open Your Eyes (Alejandro Amenabar. 1997), the original version of Vanilla Sky (Cameron Crowe, 2001) with Tom Cruise. Barray appeared in more Spanish films and TV series and also played a small part in the thriller Sexy Beast (Jonathan Glazer, 2000).

In 2010, Gérard Barray was appointed an Officer in the Order of Arts and Letters. Since 1965, he is married to Theresa Lorca and they have two children. Gérard Barray lives in Andalusia in the south of Spain and is occupied as a grandfather of three.

Gérard Barray
East-German postcard by Progress Film-Verleih, Berlin, no. 3033, 1968. Photo: Schwarz.

Gérard Barray
East-German postcard by Progress Film-Verleih, Berlin, no. 21, 1970. Photo: Schwarz.

Gérard Barray
East-German postcard by Progress Film-Verleih, Berlin, no. 3018, 1967. Photo: Schwarz.

Gérard Barray
East-German postcard by Progress Film-Verleih, Berlin, no. 2216, 1965. Photo: Schwarz.

Gérard Barray
French postcard by Editions P.I., Paris, no. 1138. Photo: Vauclair.

Sources: Donatienne (L’encinematheque – French), Daniel Denner (IMDb), Wikipedia and IMDb.

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