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Christopher Lambert
Christopher Lambert 2013.jpg
Lambert in June 2013
Born
Christophe Guy Denis Lambert

(1957-03-29) March 29, 1957 (age 66)
Occupation
  • Actor
  • producer
  • novelist
Years active 1979–present
Spouse(s)
(m. 1988; div. 1994)

Jaimyse Haft
(m. 1999; div. 2000)
Partner(s) Sophie Marceau
(2007–2014)
Children 1

Christophe Guy Denis "Christopher" Lambert (/ˈlæmbərt/; French: [lɑ̃bɛʁ]; born March 29, 1957) is a French-American actor, producer, and novelist. He started his career playing supporting parts in several French films, and became internationally famous for portraying Tarzan in Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes (1984). For his performance in the film Subway (1985), he received the César Award for Best Actor. His most famous role is Connor MacLeod in the adventure-fantasy film Highlander (1986) and the subsequent franchise of the same name.

Lambert's other notable film roles include I Love You (1986), The Sicilian (1987), Knight Moves (1992), Fortress (1992) and its sequel Fortress 2: Re-Entry (2000), Mortal Kombat (1995), Druids (2001), Absolon (2003), White Material (2009), Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2011), and Kickboxer: Retaliation (2018). He also produced the films Don't Forget You're Going to Die (1995), Neuf mois (1994), and its English-language remake Nine Months (1995).

Early life

Christophe Guy Denis Lambert was born in Great Neck, New York, on March 29, 1957, the son of Yolande Agnès Henriette (née de Caritat de Peruzzis; born 1928) and Georges Lambert-Lamond (1910–2003). a French diplomat at the United Nations. His father was Jewish. Due to his father's work, Lambert moved with his parents to Switzerland at the age of two and was raised in Geneva until his teenage years, when the family moved to France and settled in Paris.

Career

1979–1984

Lambert started his career playing supporting parts in several French films such as Ciao, les mecs (1979), Le bar du téléphone (1980), Asphalte (1981), Une sale affaire (1981), Putain d'histoire d'amour (1981), Douchka (1981), Légitime violence (1982), and one episode of Cinéma 16 (1982).

Around that time, director Hugh Hudson had just finished his Academy Award-winning film Chariots of Fire (1981), and Warner Brothers was desperate to hire him to direct another film. After looking at all their available scripts he chose to do a film adaptation of novelist Edgar Rice Burroughs' iconic character Tarzan, a man who was raised by an unknown species of great apes in the jungle. Wanting an unknown actor to play the part, Hudson tested many young actors. Lambert got the role partly due to his myopia, because when he took off his glasses it seemed he was always looking into the distance.

Released in 1984, Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes was met with great critical acclaim for both Lambert and its director. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards and won a BAFTA Award, as well as a César Award amongst other nominations.

That same year, he also played a lead role in a French film called Paroles et musique, opposite Catherine Deneuve, Richard Anconina and Jacques Perrin.

1985–2000

In 1985, Lambert played the lead in Luc Besson's stylistic film Subway, about a man being hunted in the underground subways of Paris. The film was a success at the French box office as well as critically acclaimed. Lambert was awarded a César Award for Best Actor the next year.

On 7 March 1986, Russell Mulcahy's Highlander premiered. In the film, Lambert starred as Connor MacLeod from the Scottish Highlands, known as the Highlander, one of a number of immortal warriors. After initial training by another highly skilled immortal swordsman, Ramirez (played by Sean Connery), MacLeod lives on for several centuries, eventually settling in New York City, running an antiques shop. MacLeod falls in love with a police forensic scientist named Brenda. He also finds out that he must face his greatest enemy, the Kurgan, played by Clancy Brown, who wishes to kill MacLeod and to obtain "the Prize" – which gives special abilities to the last living immortal warrior. The film became a cult hit and was an international box-office success, as well as his most famous role. The rock group Queen composed and performed the soundtrack, and Lambert also appeared as MacLeod in the music video for Queen's "Princes of the Universe". Also that year, Lambert took the leading role in Marco Ferreri's I Love You. The film was nominated for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, and was nominated for the Silver Ribbon at the Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists.

Lambert played the leading role in the troubled production of The Sicilian, directed by Michael Cimino, based on the Mario Puzo book by the same name and started its American theatrical run on 23 October 1987. He stars as Salvatore Giuliano, an egocentric bandit who fights the Catholic Church, the Mafia, and the landed gentry while leading a populist movement for Sicilian independence. The studios trimmed down the director's cut of the film. It was released in 1987 and was less successful than his previous pictures, receiving a lukewarm reception by critics and being only marginally profitable. However the director's cut received better reviews upon its release in France.

In 1988, he starred in Agnieszka Holland's To Kill a Priest, in which he played a character based on Jerzy Popiełuszko and his murder under the Polish communist regime. It was well received by critics.

That year, he also played the lead in the romantic film Priceless Beauty with actress Diane Lane. They got married that year, their union lasting until 1994.

In 1990, he did the comedy Why Me?, co-starring Christopher Lloyd. They play burglars who get into trouble after stealing a sacred ruby from Turkey.

On November 1, 1991, the Highlander sequel, Highlander II: The Quickening premiered. In it Lambert reunited with director Russell Mulcahy and fellow actor Sean Connery. Mulcahy did not like the screenplay and the production team was lured to shoot it in Argentina to reduce production costs; the country however was going through a financial crisis. Much of the script was not filmed and the final result is a patchwork. Its poor performance was possibly a result of the bonding company's interference with the director; Mulcahy reportedly hated the final product so much he walked out of the film's world premiere after viewing its first 15 minutes. For similar reasons, Lambert threatened to walk out of the project when it was nearing fruition. However, due to contractual obligations, he did not.

That year he got his first producer credit in the French film Génial, mes parents divorcent by Patrick Braoudé.

In 1992, he appeared in three projects. He appeared in the first episode of the television show Highlander: The Series, passing on the lead role to actor Adrian Paul. He also appeared in the French crime thriller Max et Jérémie, co-starring Philippe Noiret and Jean-Pierre Marielle.

On 22 January 1993, Carl Schenkel's suspense thriller Knight Moves premiered, in which Lambert was both an executive producer and the lead. Lambert plays a chess grandmaster suspected of murder. On 3 September, the science fiction Stuart Gordon's Fortress premiered, where Lambert was the lead. The story takes place in a dystopian future where a man and his wife are sent to a maximum-security prison because they are expecting a second child, which is against the strict one-child policy. The film was a success at the box-office. That year, he also made an uncredited cameo in the comedy Loaded Weapon 1.

1994 saw the release of two collaborations with actor Mario Van Peebles. They played the side by side leads in the action film Gunmen, and Van Peebles was the main villain in Highlander III: The Sorcerer. In this third installment of the franchise, Connor MacLeod is forced to face a new, dangerous enemy, a powerful sorcerer known as Kane who wants to gain world domination. Lambert also starred in the action film Roadflower. In France, he produced his second Patrick Braoudé film called Neuf mois, which was nominated for two Césars. In the US, he produced the film Dead Beat starring Bruce Ramsay.

In 1995, he played the role of the thunder god Raiden in the Paul W. S. Anderson's movie adaptation of the popular video game series Mortal Kombat. The plot of the film follows the warrior monk Liu Kang, the actor Johnny Cage, and the soldier Sonya Blade, all three guided by the god Raiden, on their journey to combat the evil sorcerer Shang Tsung and his forces in a tournament to save Earth. Mortal Kombat spent three weeks as the number-one film at the U.S. box office, earning over $122 million worldwide. Lambert later reprised the role in the MK Movie Skin Pack in the 2020 game Mortal Kombat 11. In 1995, he also starred in the American-Japanese martial arts action film The Hunted (1995 film), directed by J. F. Lawton and he was cast along side John Lone, Joan Chen, Yoshio Harada, and Yoko Shimada. For the role he utilized his martial arts and sword training of his past films. The production was relatively small and unknown compared to Mortal Kombat, but was well recived in the home video market.

Also in 1995, he produced Xavier Beauvois's N'oublie pas que tu vas mourir, which won the Special Jury Award at the Gijón International Film Festival, won the Prix Jean Vigo, won the Jury Prize and was nominated for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. He was also an executive producer on Chris Columbus' Nine Months, an English-lanuage remake of Neuf mois that went on to gross $138 million. That year also saw the release of the martial-arts thriller film The Hunted, in which he was the lead.

In 1996, he was an executive producer and the lead in Nils Gaup's western film North Star, co-starring James Caan. He played the lead in the action film Adrenalin: Fear the Rush. Finally he was one of the leads in the French film Hercule et Sherlock. That year he also produced When Saturday Comes, a football sport drama starring Sean Bean.

In 1997, he starred in Gabriele Salvatores' cyberpunk science fiction film Nirvana. The film tells the story of a virtual reality game designer, played by Lambert, who discovers that the main character of his game has achieved sentience due to an attack by a computer virus. The film was screened out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival. It went on to win one and was nominated for eight David di Donatello Awards, nominated for best film at Fantasporto, won best director at Flaiano International Prizes, won three and was nominated for two Golden Ciak Awards, nominated for one Italian Golden Globe, and nominated for five awards of the Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists.

That year, he also co-lead with Ice-T in the action film Mean Guns. He starred in the French film Arlette by Claude Zidi. He produced the French film J'irai au paradis car l'enfer est ici.

In 1998, he produced and starred in two films. Operation Splitsville was a remake of Génial, mes parents divorcent, which he produced several years earlier. The second was called Gideon, where he plays a man with a mental disability who moves into a nursing home known as Lakeview, with many elderly inhabitants.

In 1999, he produced and starred in Russell Mulcahy's Resurrection, where he plays a detective who is assigned to investigate the savage murder of a man. He also starred in Beowulf, a science fantasy-action film loosely based on the Old English epic poem Beowulf.

In 2000, he played in the fourth installment of the Highlander franchise, Highlander: Endgame. The film reunited Adrian Paul, the actor of the series, with him. This would be last sequel Lambert appeared in. The final movie of the series came seven years later, when Paul made Highlander: The Source in 2007.

That year he also starred in Fortress 2: Re-Entry, where his character from the first film is still on the run from authorities.

2001–2010

Christopher Lambert, Isabelle Huppert, Claire Denis 66ème Festival de Venise (Mostra) 2
Lambert, Isabelle Huppert, and Claire Denis at the 66th Venice Film Festival

In 2001, he played the lead role of Gallic chieftain Vercingetorix in the France-Canada production Druids. He also starred in John Glen's The Point Men, about a team of Israeli agents being killed off one-by-one after a botched anti-terrorist operation. He also provided his voice for the English dub of the animated series Mazinkaiser.

In 2002, he was an executive producer and a co-lead in the thriller The Piano Player, with Dennis Hopper. He also provided his voice for the English dub of the animated series Jing: King of Bandits.

In 2003, he played in Absolon, a post-apocalyptic science fiction thriller film. He also played a supporting role in the French film Janis and John. He also acted in the short film Qui veut la peau de Roberto Santini?.

In 2004, he acted opposite Nastassja Kinski in the French film À ton image. He also played in one episode of Cirque du Soleil: Solstrom. He was an executive producer on the film The Confessor starring Christian Slater, Molly Parker, and Stephen Rea. The film follows a straying Catholic priest's, played by Slater, investigation of a troubled teen's mysterious death. It was nominated for two awards at the Directors Guild of Canada.

In 2005, he acted in the television film biopic Dalida.

In 2006, he was an executive producer and star on the film Day of Wrath. He starred in the French film Le Lièvre de Vatanen. He also played a supporting role in Richard Kelly's Southland Tales.

In 2007, he starred in the vampire film Metamorphosis. He starred in the French film Trivial, directed by Sophie Marceau. It is about a police inspector struggling with depression following his wife's death who investigates a suspicious missing person's case at the request of a mysterious woman. During that time, he started a relationship with Marceau.

In 2008, he played in the French crime thriller Limousine. In 2009, Lambert was a lead in Claire Denis' White Material; both the film and Lambert's performance received critical acclaim. The film stars Isabelle Huppert as a struggling French coffee producer in an unnamed French speaking African country, who decides to stay at her coffee plantation in spite of an erupting civil war. The film has appeared on a number of critics' top ten lists of the best films of 2010. It was nominated at the Denver Film Critics Society Award for Best Foreign Language Film, for a Golden Lion, a Satellite Award for Best Foreign Language Film, at the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association, etc.

That year, he also acted in Cartagena, with Sophie Marceau starring as a beautiful, free-spirited woman who becomes bedridden following a terrible accident. Against her better judgement, she hires a middle-aged former boxer (Lambert) to cook and care for her. Although unqualified for the position, he is desperate for work, and slowly he wins the trust of the woman, who teaches him how to read. The film also won several awards in France.

Finally he acted in the French television film Les Associés.

In 2010, he played in Philipp Kadelbach's Das Geheimnis der Wale. The film is about the widow of a whale researcher who joins forces with an environmentalist played by Lambert to fight an oil company. That year he also played the lead in The Gardener of God, a biopic about Gregor Mendel.

2011–present

Lambert Marceau avp skyfall
Lambert with Sophie Marceau in October 2012

In 2011, Lambert starred as the villainous head monk Methodius in the Ghost Rider sequel Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, starring Nicolas Cage, in 2011. He underwent sword training for three months and shaved his head. Other co-stars included Ciarán Hinds, Violante Placido, Johnny Whitworth and Idris Elba. The film made $132.6 million worldwide.

In 2012, he played a role in the Bulgarian film The Foreigner, and the Italian film L'una e l'altra. In France, he also played a lead role in the film called Ma bonne étoile opposite Claude Brasseur, and Fleur Lise Heuet, and one episode of the TV show Very Bad Blagues.

Shortly afterwards, he got the role of Marcel Janvier (alias "The Chameleon"), a recurring villain in award-winning hit police crime TV drama NCIS: Los Angeles. His character was in six episodes from 2012 to 2013 – the two highest-rated seasons of the show.

In 2013, he was one of the cast members in the horror film Blood Shot. He also acted in the French TV series La source.

In 2014, he played in the biographical crime drama film Electric Slide, about the Los Angeles-based bank robber Eddie Dodson. His co-stars included Jim Sturgess, Isabel Lucas, Patricia Arquette and Chloe Sevigny.

In 2015, he co-starred in Claude Lelouch's Un plus une, a French romantic comedy film starring Jean Dujardin, Elsa Zylberstein and Alice Pol. He also co-starred in the biographical film 10 Days in a Madhouse, about the experiences of undercover journalist Nellie Bly.

In 2016 he co-starred in Hail, Caesar!, a comedy film written, produced, edited, and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. The film had an ensemble cast consisting of Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill, Scarlett Johansson, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, and Channing Tatum. It is a fictional story that follows the real-life "fixer" Eddie Mannix (Brolin) working in the Hollywood film industry in the 1950s, trying to discover what happened to a cast member who vanished during the filming of a biblical epic.

That year, he cameoed as a French Army Captain in La folle histoire de Max et Léon, a French World War II comedy film. He also had a recurring role in the Russian-Portuguese biographical television show Mata Hari.

In 2017 he re-collaborated with Claude Lelouch in the star studded comedy Chacun sa vie et son intime conviction. He also acted in the thriller The Broken Key with Rutger Hauer, Michael Madsen, Geraldine Chaplin, Franco Nero and William Baldwin. He also played himself in one episode of the French TV show Call My Agent!.

That year, he also played the lead villain in the martial arts film Kickboxer: Retaliation. A sequel to Kickboxer: Vengeance, the film stars Alain Moussi and Jean-Claude Van Damme and co-stars Ronaldinho, Mike Tyson and Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson.

Lambert plays the role of SS officer Karl Frenzel in the Russian film Sobibor by director Konstantin Khabensky, which was released in 2018. The film is a World War II drama about the only successful uprising in a Nazi death camp. It was selected as the Russian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards. Lambert received high praise for "an outstanding and nuanced performance; he is unrecognisable as Frenzel, a demonic, fractured character.

Lambert was part of the ensemble cast of Bel Canto from director Paul Weitz, an adaptation of the 2002 novel of the same name, by Ann Patchett. Lambert played the role of a French ambassador who was part of the Japanese embassy hostage crisis (also called the Lima Crisis) of 1996–1997 in Lima, Peru. Lambert received praise, along with the rest of the cast, for "performances [that] are uniformly excellent".

Other ventures

Lambert has written two novels: La fille porte-bonheur in 2011 and Le juge in 2015.

Along with owning a mineral water business and food processing plant, Lambert produces Côtes du Rhône wines with his business partner Eric Beaumard at a vineyard in Sainte-Cécile-les-Vignes. The label, Les Garrigues de Beaumard-Lambert, tops out at 4,000 cases and is sold mostly in Europe. Beaumard has primary creative control of the winery, but Lambert conducts barrel tests and monitors the various stages of the wine's evolution.

Personal life

Lambert was married to American actress Diane Lane from 1988 until their divorce in 1994. Their daughter, Eleanor Jasmine, was born in 1993. Lambert married American actress Jaimyse Haft in 1999, and they divorced in 2000. From 2007 to 2014, he dated French actress Sophie Marceau.

Lambert has profound myopia and cannot see without his glasses. He cannot wear contact lenses and often has to perform while virtually blind, which has led to injuries while performing his own stunts.

Filmography

Year Title Role Language Notes
1979 Ciao, les mecs Thug at the dance party French Credited as Christophe Lambert
1980 Telephone Bar, TheThe Telephone Bar Paul "Bébé" Franchi French as Christophe Lambert
1981 Douchka French TV film
1981 Asphalte Un médecin à l'hôpital / The doctor French as Christophe Lambert
1981 Une sale affaire Mullard French as Christophe Lambert
1981 Putain d'histoire d'amour Inspecteur de police French as Christophe Lambert
1982 Légitime violence Jockey French as Christophe Lambert
1982 Cinéma 16: La Dame de cœur Marcel French TV series episode
1984 Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes John Clayton / Tarzan English
1985 Paroles et Musique Jeremy French as Christophe Lambert
1985 Subway Fred French César Award for Best Actor as Christophe Lambert
1986 Highlander Connor MacLeod English
1986 I Love You Michel French as Christophe Lambert
1987 Sicilian, TheThe Sicilian Salvatore Giuliano English
1988 Priceless Beauty (a.k.a. Love Dream) Menrou English
1988 To Kill a Priest Father Alek English
1990 Why Me? Gus Cardinale English
1991 Highlander II: The Quickening Connor MacLeod English
1992 Knight Moves Peter Sanderson English
1992 Highlander: The Series Connor MacLeod English TV (one episode)
1992 Max et Jérémie Jeremie Kolachowsky French as Christophe Lambert
1992 Fortress John Henry Brennick English
1993 Loaded Weapon 1 Man with Car Phone English Deleted scene, uncredited
1994 Gunmen Dani Servigo English
1994 Roadflower Jack English
1994 Highlander III: The Sorcerer Connor MacLeod / Russell Nash English
1995 Hunted, TheThe Hunted Paul Racine English
1995 Nine Months English Executive producer
1995 Mortal Kombat Lord Raiden English
1996 North Star Hudson Saanteek English as Christophe Lambert
1996 Adrenalin: Fear the Rush Lemieux English
1996 Hercule et Sherlock Vincent French as Christophe Lambert
1997 Nirvana Jimi Dini Italian
1997 Arlette Frank Martin French as Christophe Lambert
1997 Mean Guns Lou English
1999 Operation Splitsville Max, P.E. Teacher English
1999 Resurrection John Prudhomme English also writer
1999 Beowulf Beowulf English
1999 Gideon Gideon Oliver Dobbs English
2000 Fortress 2: Re-Entry John Henry Brennick English
2000 Highlander: Endgame Connor MacLeod English
2001 Aparté Short film
2001 Druids Vercingetorix English as Christophe Lambert
2001 Mazinkaiser Additional Voices Video game
2001 Point Men, TheThe Point Men Tony Eckhardt English
2002 King of Bandit Jing Additional Voices TV miniseries, credited as Chris Lambert
2002 Piano Player, TheThe Piano Player Alex Laney English
2003 Absolon Detective Norman Scot English
2003 Janis and John Léon French
2004 À ton image Thomas French
2005 Dalida Richard Chanfray, Comte de Saint-Germain French TV miniseries
2006 Day of Wrath Ruy de Mendoza English
2006 Southland Tales Walter Mung English
2006 Lièvre de Vatanen, LeLe Lièvre de Vatanen Tom Vatanen French as Christophe Lambert
2007 Metamorphosis Constantine Thurzo English
2007 Trivial Jacques French as Christophe Lambert
2008 Chauffeur, TheThe Chauffeur (Kierowca) Devereaux Polish
2009 White Material Andre Vial French as Christophe Lambert
2009 Associés, LesLes Associés Philippe Kaminski French TV film, credited as Christophe Lambert
2009 Cartagena Leo French as Christophe Lambert
2010 Geheimnis der Wale, DasDas Geheimnis der Wale Chris Cassell German TV film
2011 Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance Methodius English
2012 Foreigner, TheThe Foreigner (Чужденецът) Vincent Bulgarian
2013 Blood Shot The President English
2012–2013 NCIS: Los Angeles Marcel Janvier / The Chameleon English TV series (6 episodes)
2013 The Gardener of God Gregor Mendel Italian
2014 Electric Slide Roy Fortune English
2015 Shades of Truth Cardinal Ennio Salvemini Italian
2015 10 Days in a Madhouse Dr. Dent English
2015 Un plus une Samuel Hamon French
2016 Hail, Caesar! Arne Slessum English
2016 folle histoire de Max et Léon, LaLa folle histoire de Max et Léon Captain Lassard French Also co-produced
2017 Mothers English Film
2017 Mata Hari Gustav Kramer Russian TV miniseries
2017 Everyone's Life Antoine de Vidas French
2017 Call My Agent! Himself French TV series (1 episode)
2018 Kickboxer: Retaliation Thomas Moore English
2018 Sobibor Karl Frenzel Russian Russian Holocaust film
2018 Bel Canto Simon Thibault English
2019 Blacklist, TheThe Blacklist Bastien Moreau / The Corsican English TV series
2020 Capitaine Marleau Thierry Bégodeau French TV series
2021 The Creeps English In development

Video games

Year Title Role Language Notes
2020 Mortal Kombat 11 Raiden ("Earthrealm") English Voice and model based on his past performance as the character in the 1995 live action film

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Christopher Lambert para niños

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