LONDON — Gaspard Ulliel, a star of French cinema best known outside his native country for portraying the young Hannibal Lecter in “Hannibal Rising” and the fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent in “Saint Laurent,” died Wednesday, the day after a ski accident in France. He was 37.
Mr Ulliel’s family confirmed his death in a statement to Agence France-Presse, the French news service.
Roselyne Bachelot, the French Minister of Culture, was one of the many French political and cultural figures who paid tribute to him. “His sensitivity and the intensity of his acting made Gaspard Ulliel an exceptional actor,” said Ms Bachelot. said on Twitter. “The cinema today is losing an immense talent.”
His death, from a head injury according to the French press, comes just weeks before Mr. Ulliel will appear in Marvel’s “Moon Knight” series for Disney+, set to debut on March 30.
mr. Ulliel was born in a suburb of Paris on November 25, 1984, and while still a teenager, he appeared in numerous French TV shows and films. He studied cinema at a university in Paris, but told T Magazine of DailyExpertNews in a 2010 interview that he had to quit because his acting career was taking off. A return to directing was “still on my mind,” he said. In the same interview, he spoke of his love for skiing, saying: “Half of my family is from the French Alps. As a child, I skied almost before I ran.”
His worldwide rise came with his first starring role in the 2003 film ‘Strayed’, a film set in wartime France, where he played an itinerant teenager helping a woman fleeing Nazi-occupied Paris. Karen Durbin, writing in DailyExpertNews, said he was the film’s “scene stealer”. “He seems fully arrived and shows us the facets of a complex and erratic character like a blackjack dealer shuffling a deck of cards,” she wrote.
For the performance, he was nominated for a César Prize, the French version of the Oscars.
Ulliel became more well known to the public in the United States in 2007 when he took the lead in “Hannibal Rising,” the prequel to “The Silence of the Lambs,” playing Hannibal Lecter as an oddly likeable, albeit still horribly murderous character. The film received mixed reviews. Jeannette Catsoulis, writing in DailyExpertNews, said that Mr. Ulliel “never hardens into a real horror.”
But he received more unanimous praise for later films such as “Saint Laurent” and “To The Ends of The World,” a war film set in Vietnam. AO Scott, who reviewed “Saint Laurent” in DailyExpertNews, said Mr Ulliel portrayed the designer Yves Saint Laurent as never having a moment of doubt during his career, “exuding a haunting, quietly charismatic blend of sensibility and coldness” , Mr. Scott wrote.
Ulliel was nominated for the “Best Actor” award at the Césars for his performance in “Saint Laurent”, an award he won in 2016 for his performance in Xavier Dolan’s “It’s Only the End of the World”, in which he starred an award-winning writer who comes home to tell his family that he is dying.
Fit for someone who portrayed one of the greatest fashion icons, Mr. Ulliel also moved in the fashion world, appearing on the cover of French Vogue and campaigning for the fragrance Bleu de Chanel.
No direct details were available about the survivors of Mr. ulliel.