Michael Lonsdale played the villain Hugo Drax in 1979's Moonraker opposite Sir Roger Moore as James Bond

By Alexia Fernandez
September 21, 2020 06:59 PM
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Michael Lonsdale in Moonraker
| Credit: Everett Collection

Michael Lonsdale, who portrayed Hugo Drax in the James Bond film Moonraker, has died, his agent told the AFP. He was 89.

The actor was perhaps best known around the world as Hugo Drax in the 1979 James Bond film, as well as detective Claude Lebel in the 1973 film The Day of the Jackal.

His performance earned him a BAFTA nomination for best supporting actor.

Lonsdale was remembered by the team behind the James Bond franchise, screenwriter Michael G. Wilson and producer Barbara Broccoli on Twitter.

"We are very sad to learn of the passing of Michael Lonsdale, who played Hugo Drax in Moonraker. He was an extraordinarily talented actor and a very dear friend. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time," they said in a statement shared to the James Bond Twitter account on Monday.

The Twitter account for the late Sir Roger Moore, who played James Bond in Moonraker, also honored Lonsdale, writing, "Terribly saddened to learn Michael Lonsdale has also passed away today. As Hugo Drax he was a smooth-tongued and cultured adversary to 007 in Moonraker."

Moore died in 2017 at the age of 89.

Lonsdale, who died in Paris, also won the Cesar Award, France’s equivalent of the Oscar, for best supporting actor in 2011 for his role in the film Of Gods and Men.

The actor appeared in several films and TV shows among them Agora, Don Juan, The Holcroft Covenant, Ronin, Jefferson in Paris, Remains of the Day and Steven Spielberg’s Munich in 2005.

Michael Lonsdale in Day of the Jackal
| Credit: Everett Collection

Lonsdale made his acting debut in 1956 with the film It Happened in Aden, going on to accumulate over 200 credits in film and television.

He collaborated with Orson Welles in 1962’s The Trial, and worked with Francois Truffaut in The Bride Wore Black and Stolen Kisses. Lonsdale also had a role in Rene Clement’s Is Paris Burning? In 1964, as well as Murmur of the Heart, directed by Louis Malle.

Lonsdale’s last film role was in 2016’s Sculpt.