Jean Lapointe 1935-2022 | The artist who made Quebec cry

Jean Lapointe, one of Quebec’s greatest cultural ambassadors for the past 60 years, has breathed his last at the age of 86.

This heart-and-fire man, whose career began at the dawn of the 1950s, has become as well-known and admired for his work as a singer-songwriter as he has been as a singer, performer, comedian, and actor.

With his legendary candor and tremendous tenderness, expressed solo and duet with his friend Jérôme Lemay within Jérolas, Monsieur Lapointe has made millions of people laugh, smile, cry, move and reflect on more Quebec than French-speaking Europe.

Mr. Lapointe was also distinguished by his social commitment, especially in the fight against addiction, which suffers from alcoholism. This fight, he led her to the Canadian Senate, where he sat for nine years from 2001.

In subsequent years, Lapointe took a step back and reduced his public appearances. In January 2022, after returning home after his stay at CHSLD, Mr. Lapointe was interviewed by Patrice Roy of Radio-Canada where he said he was well, happy and at peace.

“I don’t feel old at all,” he said then. Sometimes my joints ache, but despite this, I remained young in spirit and heart. »

His long career has been mentioned or recounted in a few books, including his autobiography, cryingpublished by Éditions de L’Homme in 1995, also in a documentary by Jean Bourbonis, Jean Lapointe, From Life to Lovereleased in 2012.

In humor and singing


Jean Lapointe in 1979

Jean Lapointe VI was born into a family of seven children on December 6, 1935 in the village of Bryce, located between Mont-Joli and Métis-sur-Mer, in the Bas-Saint-Laurent district. A few weeks before his birth, his father, Arthur Joseph Lapointe (1895-1960), was elected Liberal MP for the riding of Matapedia Matani in Ottawa. He held this position for nearly ten years. Jean Lapointe was still a child when his family moved to Quebec where he lived from 8 to 17 years old. It was there that he took his first steps in the world of song and entertainment, in particular with Raymond Pacaud and Jean-Pierre Bédard in the group Les Québécaires. Indeed, it won awards after competition from station CKCV.

In 1954, Jean Lapointe moved to Montreal to try his luck in the entertainment world. Under the pseudonym Jean Capri, he was given the first contract at the Caprice Cafe. The following year, he met another artist: Jerome LeMay. The two men then formed Les Jérolas. For 19 years, they will rain and shine in the industry, accumulating awards, praise and contracts. They would even do a number on The Ed Sullivan Show on April 28, 1963.

Photo archive

Jean Lapointe in a scene from the movie commands Written by Michel Brault (1974)

Their sense of humor is exported as far as Paris where they perform at the Olympia in the first part of performances by Monique Lerac, Claude François and Dalida. They write the play Mio leans about the movie Golden Gloves By Jill Groulx. The duo, who recorded twenty albums, broke up in 1974.

Jean Lapointe’s drinking problems partly explain the Jérolas’ estrangement. These have been undermining the life of the group and that of Mr. Lapointe since 1960, according to the Maison Jean Lapointe website. The artist had his first encounter with Alcoholics Anonymous in 1962. But he had several relapses, which sometimes ended up in jail, sometimes in hospital. In May 1974, he entered rehab for the first time.


Jean Lapointe with his daughter Anne-Elizabeth Lapointe, General Manager of Maison Jean Lapointe

After Les Jérolas, Jean Lapointe’s solo career successfully took off It’s in the songs. In 1976 he recorded his first album, disinfectionwhere we find this last tube, but also Uncle Edmund. Will follow more than twenty albums, solo or with other artists, recorded between 1977 and 2012. We will find some famous pieces from them Sing your songAnd the If we sing togetherAnd the cryingAnd the Laugh till you cryetc.

Jean Lapointe’s theatrical success was repeated in Quebec when he bagged several times in France, Belgium and Switzerland in the 1980s, and the first performances at the Bobino Hall in Paris were followed by those at the legendary Olympia. At its premiere, on the evening of February 20, 1985, it was a triumph. title “France” Journalism Thursday, February 21, 1985 in a text by… Jean-François Lisée, then a journalist for The Canadian Press. Journalist Lysée wrote: “Jean Lapointe wept with joy last night in his box at Olympia after he greeted the audience six times as we were introduced to many familiar faces.”

Golden roles


Actor Jean Lapointe in Sainte-Marguerite in 1976

In 1966, Jérolas appeared in the movie YUL 871 By Jack Goodbott. Then we’ll see La Pointe’s Two golden women by Claude Fournier (1970) and a few others. In 1974, his interpretation of Clermont Boudreau, a simple worker imprisoned after the passage of the War Measures Act in commands Michel Brault, it will be a milestone. Lapointe gave a great performance. In his interview with Patrice Roy, he evokes the poignant scene where his character stuffs himself with a soft drink and potato chips. “I took a sip and the tears started flowing naturally,” he said. The strength of this fist moved me a lot. »

The actor will play in several other movies including Hot water frit water by André Forcier, T-Men, Bernie and the gang by Marcel Carrier, JA Martin photographer by Jean Boudin and even together with Olympia Dukakis in It’s not too lateA Giles Walker film shot in Montreal. In 2004, he won the Jutra Award for Best Supporting Actor for his work in the film The last tunnel by Eric Canwell. Rebelote in 2011 when he won the Jutra for Best Supporting Actor (The origin of crying by Robin Aubert) as well as honoring Jutra throughout his career. He made a brief appearance in the movie my circus By Myriam Bouchard in 2020.


Gerola’s ex, Jean Lapointe, at rehearsal in Sainte-Marguerite for his show in the Place des Arts

If his work as an actor in cinema made an impression, his interpretation of former Prime Minister Maurice Duplessis in the series of the same name will, too. Directed by Mark Blandford from a screenplay by Denis Arcand, the series was a huge success and Lapointe received praise. “I was a duplice,” he said in an interview with the late journalist Luc Perrault. Journalism, in 1996. The miracle is that I picked up a voice that wasn’t Duplessis’ voice and it was that voice that ended up imposing the character. »

Social and political commitment

In the mid-1970s, Monsieur Lapointe received treatment at the Maison d’Ivry-sur-le-Lac (in Sainte-Agathe) run by the Triple-A organization. Then he decided to join the organization. He opened Maison Cuirb in 1979. Three years later, he moved to Old Montreal. Jean Lapointe, in agreement with his family, associates his name with her. He also created the Jean Lapointe Foundation, which seeks recurring funding for the house’s activities by telethon. After 13 editions, this stopped in 1998: donors had run out of interest. Despite the hardships along the way, the house still sits in the same spot. On March 8, 2019, it was announced that Anne-Elisabeth Lapointe, daughter of the singer and humorist, is taking over as General Manager. Since its founding, more than 40,000 people have stayed there to treat addiction problems. The organization has also done a lot of prevention work, especially with young people.


Jean Lapointe won the Prix Hommage aux Jutra in 2011.

Jean Lapointe was appointed to the Senate of Canada as a Liberal senator in June 2001. “When Mr. Chrétien made this proposal to me, I started crying,” said Mr. Lapointe. Journalism From June 14, 2001 to the day after his appointment. He added that he wanted to look into the files related to drug addiction. And that’s what he did.

Nine years later, on his 75th birthday, Mr. Lapointe left the Senate where he tried, unsuccessfully, to pass a bill against video lottery machines in bars and restaurants. He has left Ottawa embittered, saying he does not like politics and deploring the Conservatives’ systematic obstruction since they came to power in 2006. In his interview with Patrice Roy, he claims he has become a supremacist, which would undoubtedly have pleased his great friend Felix Leclerc: “Quebec independence will come.” Sooner or later, I hope.”

Drama and setbacks


Senator Jean Lapointe and his son Jean-Marie Lapointe in 2007

After their separation in 1974, Jean Lapointe and Jerome Lemay did not speak to each other for years. But reconciliation will come. They reformed Les Jérolas for a number one single in 1993. Then, in 2010 and 2011, they reformed their duo and played about a dozen shows. The big return to Montreal was announced on March 31, 2011 at the Théâtre Maisonneuve in the Place des Arts. That evening, however, Jerome LeMay felt unwell before the break. The second part of the show, like subsequent shows, was cancelled. He was diagnosed with anemia. Three weeks later, on April 20, Mr. LeMay died of cancer at the age of 77.

According to the site Star QuebecJean Lapointe is the father of seven children. His son, Jean-Marie, an actor and host, has followed in his footsteps. In 2007, they performed a show together, joke faces. Many tragedies passed through Jean Lapointe’s life, including the deaths of his two wives, Marie-Poline, Cécile-Maureen-Label, and his brother, Gabriel and Anselme. In 2007, he was forced into bankruptcy. In May 2016, during a meeting with JournalismHe said he is recovering from lung cancer.

Despite severe traumas and setbacks, Monsieur Lapointe remains one of the greatest artists in Quebec history.

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