French mourn at Leotard funeral

Thesp appeared in over 80 movies

PARIS — Patrice Chereau, Claude Lelouche, Nathalie Baye and Michel Piccoli were among mourners at actor Philippe Leotard’s funeral in Paris on Tuesday. His brother Francois Leotard, a former culture minister who now represents the E.U. in Macedonia, also attended.

The actor died of respiratory failure in a Paris clinic Saturday. Tuesday would have been his 61st birthday.

Leotard, a household name in France, was almost as well known for his long battle with drink and drugs as he was for appearing in some 80 films by some of France’s most distinguished helmers. As well as Chereau and Lelouch, they include Francois Truffaut, Claude Sautet, Maurice Pialat, Bertrand Tavrnier and Agnes Varda.

He won a Cesar, France’s Oscar equivalent, for his role in the 1983 “La Balance,” but he is perhaps best remembered to American audiences for his appearance in the 1975 “French Connection.”