Jean DUCEPPE 1923-1990

1987 Cultural Cultural

Known for his capacity for hard work and his generous nature, Jean Duceppe is one of Quebec's best-loved actors. In his 45-year career, he has performed in countless stage plays, films and television series. Among his most famous roles are Duplessis in Charbonneau et le chef and Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman.

A man of remarkable creative intuition, Mr. Duceppe made his mark as an administrator when he established the Compagnie théâtrale Jean-Duceppe, in 1973. The only theatre company to have shown a profit for a number of years running, this small business is one of the Quebec cultural industry's greatest achievements. Its numerous tours have made a major contribution to the popularity of theatre in Quebec.

Born in Montréal in 1923, Mr. Duceppe studied at the École supérieure Chomedey de Maisonneuve and at the Externat classique Ste-Croix. His career debut was at the Arcade, performing seven days a week. Between 1941 and 1947, he performed in 34 different plays. He later spent several years at Théâtre du Rideau Vert. In 1952, he played his first film role in Gratien Gélinas' Tit-Coq. Twenty years later, he had his greatest film success with his performance in the title role of Claude Jutra’s Mon oncle Antoine. From 1953 to 1959, he appeared in the well-known television series, La famille Plouffe. It would be the first in a long line of television series for Jean Duceppe.

In 1955 and 1956, Mr. Duceppe began his career as a radio and television host. From 1957 to 1959, he was President of the Union des artistes. Fascinated by news and politics, he founded the weekly newspaper Le miroir du Québec in 1965. He then went on to pursue his career in theatre administration. From 1966 to 1968, he directed Le Théâtre populaire Molson, and in 1973, he founded La Compagnie théâtrale Jean-Duceppe.

Mr. Duceppe's outstanding contribution to the arts has been widely recognized. He was named performer of the year in 1957 and received the Prix Victor-Morin from the Société Saint-Jean-Baptiste in 1968. In 1978, he was awarded the Molson Prize from the Canada Council for his outstanding contribution to theatre that year, and in 1979, he won the Prix Marc-Lescarbot. That same year, Mr. Duceppe was presented with the Prix Denise-Pelletier, awarded by the Minister of Cultural Affairs in recognition of outstanding talent shown by a performing artist.