Michael Lonsdale, Actor Who Played Bond Villain in ‘Moonraker,’ Dies at 87

September 21, 2020 Updated: September 21, 2020

PARIS—French actor Michael Lonsdale, who worked with some of the world’s top directors in a career that spanned 60 years, died Monday at 89, his agent said.

From his role as the villain in the 1979 James Bond film “Moonraker” to that of a French monk in Algeria in the 2011 movie “Of Gods and Men,” Lonsdale acted, often in supporting roles, under top directors including Orson Welles, Steven Spielberg, Francois Truffaut and Louis Malle.

The child of a French mother and a British father, Lonsdale had a soft but malleable voice and in later years a grisly long beard. Lonsdale made more than 100 films and performed as much on stage, where he started his career.

Lonsdale died peacefully at his Paris home of old age, his agent of 20 years, Olivier Loiseau, told The Associated Press.

“It was kind of expected,” said Loiseau of the Aartis agency, who recently spoke with Lonsdale by phone. “His spirit was alive but his body was tired.”

Lonsdale was a man of faith and played numerous roles reflecting his Christian beliefs. He was Brother Luc, a monk in the real-life drama “Of Gods and Men,” destined to die with fellow monks at the hands of Islamist extremists. He also played a priest in Welles’ 1962 film “The Trial.”

Xavier Beauvois’ “Of Gods and Men” earned Lonsdale a Cesar, France’s equivalent of an Oscar, for best supporting role.

The French daily Le Parisien quotes him as saying in 2016 that he had no anxiety about dying. “I give myself a reason. It’s life.”

Lonsdale never married and had no children. Funeral arrangements were not immediately known.