1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Mounet-Sully, Jean

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MOUNET-SULLY, JEAN (1841–       ), French actor, was born at Bergerac, on the 28th of February, 1841. He entered the Conservatoire at the age of twenty-one, and took the first prize for tragedy. In 1868 he made his début at the Odéon without attracting much attention. His career was interrupted by the Franco-Prussian War, and the liking he developed for soldiering had almost decided him to give up the stage, when he was offered the opportunity of playing the part of Oreste in Racine's Andromaque at the Comédie Française in 1872. His striking presence and voice and the passionate vigour of his acting made an immediate impression, and the eventual result was his election as sociétaire in 1874. He became one of the mainstays of the Comédie Française, and distinguished himself in a great variety of tragic and romantic parts. Perhaps his most famous impersonation was that of Oedipus in L'Oedipe roi, a French version by Jules Lacroix of Sophocles's drama. This was first performed in the old Roman amphitheatre at Orange in 1888. Other prominent parts in Mounet-Sully's répertoire were Achille in Racine's Iphigénie en Aulide, Hippolyte in Phèdre, Hamlet, the title parts in Victor Hugo's Hernani and Ruy Blas, Francis I. in Le Roi s'amuse, and Didier in Marion Delorme. He was created chevalier of the Legion of Honour in 1889. He also wrote a play, La Buveuse de larmes, and in 1906, in collaboration with Pierre Barbier, La Vieillesse de Don Juan in verse.