The Cesar Award winner had starred in almost 150 films during his illustrious career, including his turn in 1977 Golden Globe-nominated comedy An Elephant Can Be Extremely Deceptive, 1990’s The Hairdresser’s Husband and Ridicule in 1996.
He was hospitalized in August and passed away on Sunday night, his daughter confirmed to Agence France-Presse. Rochefort’s most recent projects included 2015’s Floride and animation April and the Extraordinary World.
Prior to his death, the actor was cast by former Monty Python member Terry Gilliam to star as the title character in his film based on the 17th Century Spanish novel Don Quixote, which was also expected to star Johnny Depp and his ex-partner Vanessa Paradis. The project had faced a number of setbacks, including a flash flood on set and Rochefort suffering a double herniated disc during production, which caused him to have emergency surgery. A making-of documentary, Lost in la Mancha, was released about the failed production.
The late star had also voiced his concerns about working with Gilliam, claiming during an interview on French television in 2014 that the director starved his horse before production. Rochefort also insisted that people wore apples tied to their backs so that the stallion would follow and claimed that the horse died shortly after he left the project.
Amazon agreed to fund the project in 2016 and The Man Who Killed Don Quixote will now be released next year, starring Adam Driver and Olga Kurylenko.