MONTREAL — Quebec actor Andree Lachapelle, who died Thursday at age 88, is being remembered as a giant of the stage and screen.
"She made Quebecers dream for all those years with the characters she played on television, in movies and in theatre," Premier Francois Legault said on Twitter.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also used Twitter to share his sadness over Lachapelle's death. "She's left a lasting impact on Quebec through her immense contributions to comedy, theatre, cinema and television," he wrote Thursday night.
Born in 1931, the youngest in a family of seven children, Lachapelle was drawn to acting from a young age. When her brothers and sisters put on plays, she would recite poems during the intermissions, and she participated in all her school shows.
She was just six when she started diction classes, and by 14 she was studying acting at Studio 15. Despite her passion for theatre, she went on to teachers' college and taught for a few years before devoting herself entirely to acting.
It was at the Festival de Montreal in the summer of 1952 that she met the actor Robert Gadouas, who would become her partner. They were together 10 years and had three children, but separated in 1963. Six years later, Gadouas took his life.
"I did not have an easy life. I experienced a lot of hardship," she told La Presse in 2012. "I saw my brothers die very young of illness — one at 18, the other at 25 years old. I lost the man of my life and the father of my three children when I was only 30 years old. My job has certainly been my most loyal lover. For the rest, it was not always very funny, but I never let myself down."
She remained equally loyal to her craft. Her death came just two months after the release of her latest film, Louise Archambault's "And the Birds Rained Down," in which she appeared alongside Gilbert Sicotte and Remy Girard.
"Ms. Lachapelle was elegance incarnate, kindness, a person of very high quality," Girard said after learning of her death.
Sicotte noted that Lachapelle's career spanned several eras from the beginning of Quebec theatre and television.
"She was involved in all mediums, and each time, she had an energy, an intensity that nourished her characters," he said.
In addition to performing in numerous popular Quebec television shows, Lachapelle appeared on stage in plays by Wajdi Mouawad, Michel Tremblay, Samuel Beckett and Tennessee Williams, to name a few.
On the big screen, her credits included "YUL 871" by director Jacques Godbout, "Jesus of Montreal" by Denys Arcand, "The Last Escape" from Lea Pool and Jean-Claude Lauzon's "Leolo."
Lachapelle's family said she received medical aid in dying following a cancer diagnosis.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 22, 2019.
The Canadian Press