Michael Sarrazin, Canadian film and Television actor, Died at 70

Dead, Michael Sarrazin April 17, 2011 at the age of 70, he was a Canadian film and television actor who found fame opposite Jane Fonda in They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (1969).

Born Jacques Michel André Sarrazin in Quebec City, Quebec on May 22, 1940, and moved to Montreal, Quebec, as a child.

His early appearances include The Virginian (1965), the TV film The Doomsday Flight (1966), Gunfight in Abilene (1967), and a starring role in The Flim-Flam Man (1967) with George C. Scott.

In 1969 he starred in four films, one them being the dark Great Depression drama, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? The Sydney Pollack-directed movie earned nine Oscar nominations, with Sarrazin starring alongside Jane Fonda, Susannah York, Gig Young, Red Buttons, and Bruce Dern.

He served as a supporting actor in Sometimes a Great Notion (1971).

He starred in a string of successes, including the television film Frankenstein: The True Story (1973), the crime caper Harry in Your Pocket (1973), the screwball comedy film For Pete’s Sake (1974), and the horror film The Reincarnation of Peter Proud (1975), about a man doomed to die the same kind of death twice.

A number of other Sarrazin characters found their way as a result.

He played a guileless tenderfoot again, this time taken under the wing of cowboy Anthony Franciosa, in A Man Called Gannon (1968) which takes an unexpected twist at the end; he shared the screen with fellow up-and-comers Harrison Ford and Jan-Michael Vincent as a green Confederate soldier in Journey to Shiloh (1968); earned a Golden Globe “best promising newcomer” nomination portraying an aimless surfer in The Sweet Ride (1968) opposite the spectacularly beautiful Jacqueline Bisset (they lived together for several years); and supposedly turned down the role of Joe Buck in Midnight Cowboy (1969) in order to appear in the kinky love triangle In Search of Gregory (1970) as, yet again, another be charming young stranger, but that film was not successful.

Another glum, ostracized outsider role came in the showier form of Paul Newman’s hippie half brother in Sometimes a Great Notion (1970) and Sarrazin continued to show a flair for the unconventional with the non-mainstream Believe in Me (1971), as a medical student who shares a drug needle with (again) Ms. Bissett, and in The Pursuit of Happiness (1971) as a collegiate fighting the system.

In Harry in Your Pocket (1973) Sarrazin again plays the naive square who falls in with a bad crowd (this time, pickpockets).

He capped this radical run with a mesmerizing, intelligent and, of course, sympathetic portrayal of the monster in the mini-movie Frankenstein: The True Story (1973).

As assurance of his offbeat popularity, he hosted Saturday Night Live (1975) twice.

Massey is believed to have continued working through recent illness and made her final appearance in the 2010 TV series Moving On, scripted by Jimmy McGovern.

“I think however old and blind and prune-like one may look, the spirit inside stays young and flirtacious,” she once said.

Massey is survived by her husband, Uri Andres, and her son, David, from an earlier marriage to the actor Jeremy Brett.

She was made a CBE in the 2004 New Year Honours List and published her autobiography, Telling Some Tales, in 2006.