Jean-Laurent Cochet died on Tuesday April 7 in Paris of the Covid-19 at the age of 85. He had been hospitalized at Bichat Hospital five days earlier. Comedian, director and teacher of dramatic art, it was above all in this last role that he distinguished himself, by training over fifty years of pedagogy an impressive number of stars of theater and cinema. Gérard Depardieu, Isabelle Huppert or Fabrice Luchini are on his hunting board, but also Daniel Auteuil, Emmanuelle Béart, Carole Bouquet, Richard Berry, Bernard Giraudeau, Mélanie Thierry, Andréa Ferréol, Stéphane Guillon and many others.
Born January 28, 1935 in Romainville (Seine-Saint-Denis), he turned very early on to the theater, under the aegis of teachers themselves depositories of the great classical tradition: Béatrix Dussane, Maurice Escande, René Simon or Jean Meyer. In 1959, he joined the Comédie-Française as a boarder, where he remained until 1963, playing Molière, Marivaux, Feydeau or Audiberti under the direction of Jacques Charon or Jean Meyer.
Isabelle Huppert: “Each author with him became clear. During her class, I was more spectator than actress “
From this time on, he launched into staging, which he practiced until the beginning of the 2010s, through some eighty shows that would alternate without striking a blow from the classics of the repertoire and the success of boulevard theater: Molière croise Sacha Guitry; Marivaux, André Roussin; Musset, Françoise Dorin; Labiche and Feydeau are never far away.
In this theater which does not bother with modernity, the stars are welcome, and Jean-Laurent Cochet stages Suzy Delair or Danielle Darrieux, Jacques Dufilho or Claude Piéplu, Jean Le Poulain or Thierry le Luron, Claude Brasseur or Jean -Pierre Bacri, Jeanne Moreau or Michèle Morgan. In 1962 he made his first television appearances with the show Youth Theater, by Claude Santelli.
But it is above all as a pedagogue that he will remain in history. In 1965, he opened his drama course, the Cochet course in Paris, where he trained and revealed to themselves an impressive number of actresses. ” The talent, he said, there is no such thing. The theater is a profession that is worked. Donations are sometimes dangerous because a gifted student tends not to work. “
Fabrice Luchini, who always loudly proclaimed what he owed him, and who was one of the first to pay tribute to him, told it in an interview with World in 2008 : “I had the chance to learn the trade in Jean-Laurent Cochet’s course, where you had to work on the passage of text, and not on personal confidence. We first had to learn to articulate for hours. Me, I’m like Michel Bouquet: I come on stage to spend something bigger than me. But it’s not enough to love and admire Baudelaire or Molière: you have to know how to phrase them. It takes years of practice. Like a pianist, with his scales. “