Tributes pour in for award-winning Quebec actress Monique Mercure

A versatile actress, Mercure was known for her work in film, television and theatre

Actress Monique Mercure, whose performances helped elevate Quebec cinema to the international silver screen, has died at 89.

Simon Brault, director and CEO of the Canada Council for the Arts, said on social media that his friend of 30 years died Saturday night after a battle with throat cancer.

A versatile actress, Mercure was known for her work in film, television and theatre, with a repertoire spanning everything from Greek tragedies to contemporary classics.

In 1977, her performance in “J.A. Martin Photographer” earned her best actress awards at both the Cannes Film Festival and Canadian Film Awards.

But it was Mercure’s devotion to theatre that set her apart, according to Lorraine Pintal, the artistic director of the Theatre du Nouveau Monde in Montreal.

Fittingly, Mercure spent the night of her best actress award at Cannes on the Montreal stage instead of collecting her trophy in person, Pintal said.

“The place I needed to be tonight is here, before you,” Mercure told the audience, who responded with a massive ovation.

Brault said Mercure left “a distinctive and indelible” mark on every screen and stage she graced.

“Fiery, brave and determined, she had verve and outspokenness that many feared,” wrote Brault, who succeeded her as the head of the National Theatre School of Canada.

“She also had a sense of humour and self-deprecation far too rare in a world that takes itself so seriously.”

Mercure was born Monique Emond in Montreal on November 14, 1930.

She initially studied music and aspired to become a cellist. In 1949, she married composer Pierre Mercure, and they had three children before separating in 1958.

By the 1950s, she turned her attention to acting, taking roles in both film and theatre. She eventually gained widespread attention for her performance in Claude Fournier’s “Deux Femmes en Or.”

A string of successful films followed, including Claude Jutra’s ”Mon oncle Antoine,” as well as ”Naked Lunch,” “The Red Violin” and “Conquest.”

She continued to log numerous film and TV appearances in more recent years, including the role of Edith Beauchamp in “Providence.”

Her death has prompted an outpouring of tributes, including from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who described her as “a great Canadian actress.”

“Monique Mercure has had a profound impact on generations of Canadians,” Trudeau wrote on Twitter.

“She helped promote Quebec cinema beyond our borders and her legacy will live on through her work.”

Quebec Premier Francois Legault also extended his condolences to Mercure’s family on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

$2 raise for some health care workers in Alberta over a month late

Delay isn’t from Alberta Health, spokesperson confirms

Wind warning issued for central Alberta

City of Red Deer and Lacombe under wind warning

Only 13 new COVID-19 cases confirmed by Alberta gov’t Saturday

There’s currently only two active cases in province’s central zone

Central Alberta naturalists fear pristine headwaters will be contaminated by coal mine

Chutes of the Ram constitute one of Earth’s ‘most beautiful’ spots

QUIZ: Test your knowledge of the world of summer sports

In a typical year, there are plenty of summer sporting events and tournaments held across Canada

SpaceX’s historic encore: Astronauts arrive at space station

SpaceX Dragon capsule pulled up to the station and docked automatically

Ottawa pledges millions to promote holiday travel in Canada during pandemic

Funding announced include $30 million originally earmarked for attracting foreign visitors

Sweats are in, slacks are out: Could ‘work-leisure’ become business as usual?

Many desk-dwellers are opting for sweatpants as work-from-home era has loosened up dress codes

Minimum wage goes up June 1 in B.C. as businesses face COVID-19 challenges

Increase is part of the government’s pledge to implement a $15 per hour minimum wage

In hard-hit Quebec, families struggle to mourn those lost to COVID-19

The province recorded more than 50,000 confirmed cases and over 4,300 deaths as of Friday

Most Read