Oscar Actors: Bujold, Geneviève

Career Summary:

Stage/TV debut: 21

Broadway debut:

Occupational inheritance: No

Social Class: working class (father driver, mother maid)

Education: convent; academy of drama

Film debut: 21 (Canadian film)

Oscar awards: 1 nominations

Other awards: L.A. Film Critics Association, 1988, Supporting Actress (“Dead Ringers” and “The Moderns”)

Career span: close to six decades.

Last film: Still active

Death:

She is best known for her portrayal of Anne Boleyn in the biopic Anne of the Thousand Days (1969), for which she received a Best Actress Oscar nomination and won a Golden Globe Award.

Bujold was born July 1, 1942 in Montreal, Quebec, the daughter of Laurette (née Cavanagh), a maid, and Joseph Firmin Bujold, a bus driver.

Of French Canadian descent, with distant Irish ancestry, Bujold received a strict convent education for twelve years, which she disliked. She was expelled from convent for reading “Fanny” by Marcel Pagnol. She entered the Montreal Conservatory of Dramatic Art, where she was trained in classic French theatre.

She made her stage debut as Rosine in Le Barbier de Séville in 1961 with Theatre de Gesu. She quit the school and from then on she was rarely out of work, being in demand for radio, stage, TV and film.

Bujold made her TV debut with Le square (1963), based on a play by Maguerite Duras co-starring Georges Groulx.  She was in episodes of Jeudi-théâtre (“Atout… Meurtre”) and Les belles histoires des pays d’en haut (“La terre de Bidou”) and guest starred on Ti-Jean caribou.

Her Canadian feature film debut was in Amanita Pestilens (1963).

She was then in the international production “La fleur de l’âge,” ou “Les adolescents” (1964) and had the lead role in “La terre à boire” (1964). Bujold starred in two shorts, La fin des étés (1964) and Geneviève (1964). She toured Canada with several plays and worked steadily in radio and was voted actress of the year in Montreal.

In 1965, she toured Russia and France with the company of the Théâtre du Rideau Vert. While in Paris, Bujold was in a play A House… and a Day when she was seen by renowned French director Alain Resnais. He selected her for a role in his film The War Is Over, opposite Yves Montand and Ingrid Thulin. She returned home briefly to appear in “Romeo and Jeannette” by Jean Anouilh alongside Michael Sarrazin, for a Canadian TV show Festival.[8] Also for that show she did productions of The Murderer and A Doll’s House.

She stayed in France to make more films: Philippe de Broca’s King of Hearts (1966), with Alan Bates, and Louis Malle’s The Thief of Paris (1967), with Jean-Paul Belmondo. Bujold won the Prix Suzanne as the Discovery of the Year and Elle magazine called her The Girl of the Day. Despite having established herself in France, however, she returned to Canada.

Marriage: Actor

Upon return to Canada, Bujold married film director Paul Almond in 1967. He directed her in “The Puppet Caravan” for Festival in 1967. She appeared in Michel Brault’s film Between Salt and Sweet Water (1967), then went to New York to play the title role in a production of Saint Joan (1967) for Hallmark Hall of Fame on American TV. Although she said she preferred film most and television least out of all the mediums, she received great acclaim for this including an Emmy nomination.

In Canada she starred in Isabel (1968), written and directed by Almond, which was one of the first Canadian films to be distributed by a major Hollywood studio.

Oscar Nomination:

International recognition came in 1969, when she starred as Anne Boleyn in Charles Jarrott’s film Anne of the Thousand Days, with Richard Burton. Producer Hal B. Wallis cast her after seeing her in Isabel. For her performance, she received the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama,[14] and received a nomination for the Best Actress Oscar. It was released by Universal who signed her to a three-picture contract.

Back in Canada, she did a second feature with her husband, The Act of the Heart (1970), co starring Donald Sutherland, which earned her a Best Actress at the Canadian Film Awards. She wrote and starred in a short film, Marie-Christine (1970), directed by Claude Jutra.

Wallis and Universal wanted Bujold to star in Mary, Queen of Scots (1971) but she refused so they sued her for $450,000. Instead she played the role of Cassandra, a Greek prophet, in Michael Cacoyannis’s film version of The Trojan Women (1971), opposite Katharine Hepburn, Vanessa Redgrave, and Irene Papas, which was shot in Spain.

In Canada, she made Journey (1972) with Almond and co-starring John Vernon. Bujold won another Canadian Film Award for Best Actress. She and Almond divorced in 1973.

She starred in Claude Jutra’s Kamouraska (1973), based on a novel by Anne Hébert, for which she received her third Canadian Film Award for Best Actress. In the U.S., she appeared in an adaptation of Jean Anouilh’s Antigone for PBS’s Great Performances in 1974.

The lawsuit with Universal was settled and she agreed to sign a new three-picture film contract starting with Earthquake (1974), with Charlton Heston.

Bujold went to France to make Incorrigible (1975) with de Broca and Belmondo. For Hallmark Hall of Fame and the BBC she was in a production of Caesar and Cleopatra (1975) alongside Alec Guinness.

She was the female lead in a pirate film for Universal, Swashbuckler (1976) with Robert Shaw. More successful was Obsession (1976) directed by Brian De Palma with Cliff Robertson (1976). Bujold made Alex & the Gypsy (1976) with Jack Lemmon and Another Man, Another Chance (1977), with James Caan (1977) for Claude Lelouch.

In 1978, she played the lead role in a medical thriller Coma directed by Michael Crichton, with Michael Douglas, which was a big hit.

Bujold returned to Canada to play a key role in the Sherlock Holmes film Murder by Decree (1979), which won her a Best Supporting Actress at the Canadian Film Awards.

She then made the Disney fantasy The Last Flight of Noah’s Ark (1980), with Elliott Gould and Charles Jarrott, director of Anne of the Thousand Days.

She was directed by Almond once more in the “Canadian Final Assignment” (1980).

Bujold starred in a TV movie Mistress of Paradise (1981) then supported Christopher Reeve in Monsignor (1982) and Clint Eastwood in Tightrope (1984).

Alan Rudolph: Frequent Director
Bujold starred in three films directed and written by Alan Rudolph: “Choose Me” (1984), “Trouble in Mind” (1985) and “The Moderns” (1988).

Bujold starred in David Cronenberg’s Dead Ringers (1988) opposite Jeremy Irons, then made the TV movie Red Earth, White Earth (1989), and False Identity (1990) with Stacy Keach.

In 1994, Bujold was cast as Captain Elizabeth Janeway (subsequently renamed Kathryn Janeway), lead character in the ensemble of the American TV series Star Trek: Voyager. However, she left the project  due to “demanding” work schedule.

She had support roles in The Adventures of Pinocchio (1995), The House of Yes (1997), Last Night (1998), You Can Thank Me Later (1998), Eye of the Beholder (1999), The Bookfair Murders (2000), Children of My Heart (2001) and Alex in Wonder (2001)

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