Jourdan, Louis

Jourdan, Louis (1921–)

(pop culture)

Louis Jourdan, an actor known for his starring role in a made-for-television production, Count Dracula (1978), was born in Marseilles, France. He made his first movie in 1940 in a French production, Le Corsaire. After World War II he came to the United States and appeared in The Paradine Case (1946), which was followed by many appearances on stage and screen.

In 1978 Jourdan starred in his first vampire role as Count Dracula in the BBC production of the Bram Stoker novel. The lengthy production (two-and-a-half hours) is remembered as one of the more faithful reenactments of the original work. It included the famous scene in which Jonathan Harker saw Dracula crawling down the walls of his castle. The movie was noted for its emphasis on drama, and tension rather than blood and violence. A sexual element was present, but because Count Dracula was produced for television, there was no nudity. Jourdan played the role in a manner similar to Frank Langella (then starring in the Broadway revival of the play), as a suave, continental romantic hero. Women swooned in ecstacy when he bit them. After his Dracula role, Jourdan went on to star in several other movies, including the James Bond movie Octopussy, (1983) and The Return of the Swamp Thing (1989). He currently (2009) lives in retirement in Vielle, in southern France.

Sources:

Holte, James Craig. Dracula in the Dark: The Dracula Film Adaptations. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1997. 161 pp.
Jones, Stephen. The Illustrated Vampire Movie Guide. London: Titan Books, 1993. 144 pp.
Waller, Gregory A. The Living and the Undead: From Stoker’s Dracula to Romero’s Dawn of the Dead. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1986. 376 pp.