“We’re not at the sausage fair here! We’re at school!” The sharp voice of Professor Latouche, dunce Ducobu’s sworn enemy, echoes in everyone’s mind. With this unique tone, Elie Semouns, which the public has known since the late 80s.
During his television appearances, his numerous participation in the cinema and then, of course, thanks to his successful shows, he was able to impose a style of acting and characters that have become references. But who is really hiding behind this comedian? It was in Paris, on October 16, 1963, that little Elie was born, who grew up on the 12th floor of a residential area in Antony, in the Hauts-de-Seine. Her parents, Paul and Denise, have just left northern Morocco to rebuild their lives in France. He is a postman, she is a French teacher. Very quickly the family grew with the arrival of his brother Laurent and his sister Anne-Judith. The hours of childhood flow happily between walks in the Saint-Cloud park and beautiful meetings with friends in a place close to his heart: the school.
He lost his mother at the age of 11
“It was my first scene, the place of my first love, it’s an opening to culture, you socialize, you’re confronted with authority… I loved it!”he confided Galain 2020. Then comes the tragedy that will haunt his whole life: his mother dies of hepatitis when he is only 11 years old. “When your mother, the being you love most in the world, does the worst to you, breaks up… forever… you live in an emotional abyss (…) My father spoiled Laurent, my younger brother. Me, they thought I was in no pain when I was most hurt. That’s why I became an artist, it was vital.”he recalls, questioned by Galain 2011.
The young man takes refuge in writing poems and plays, identifies with the hero of the novel The great Meaulnes, dreams of becoming a writer first, and then takes his first steps at the Antony theatre. It was at the age of 18 that his destiny changed when he met director Roger Louret, whose company he joined, Les Baladins en Agenais. There he meets a certain Muriel Robin. Together they play classical pieces on trestle in Lot (46)… The trio will never be lost sight of. In the 1980s, Elie Semoun pulled out all the stops, multiple castings and small roles. With his frail appearance and quirky sense of humor, it’s hard to win! Then came the idea, in 1990, to form a comic duo with his teenage friend Dieudonné. “It is my love of paradoxes, my taste for contrasts that attracted me to Dieudo: the little Jew and the big black”he confessed to the magazine She, in 2005. With his alter ego, his career took off. The humor is caustic and mercilessly mocks the intolerant of all stripes.
Elie Semoun Hard breaks
The friend of the beginning, friend always. Even today, the actress and Élie discuss and adapt each other on their respective shows.
Accomplices since Les Petites Annonces – where Gad has never failed to make a few cameos – the two comedians see each other regularly and advise each other…
Favorite radio host of RTL goes for affection… And with Élie, you fell in love immediately! He has therefore been baptized as a member of the program Les Grosses Têtes since 2016.
The actor is one of his oldest friends, one of those who, like him, broke into the profession… necessarily true to the position!
Between Elie and Dieudo there are six years of fusion relationship and two successful shows before the big clash for deep difference of opinion. Elias writes about him in his biography: “I missed Dieudonné very much. I really experienced this breakup as I experience my love breaks, with a strong sense of abandonment”.
Water has run under the bridges since, but… Élie did not appreciate his friend’s attitude after their success in Classified ads : “I found that I had reached out to him and I was waiting for him to reach out to me in the cinema. He was making movies with everyone but me… But it doesn’t matter. He knows what I told him I have nothing to decide, I always say things. At least I’m not dying of a wound!” (The ParisianSeptember 2013).
…WHICH IS NO LONGER
But the stage couple ends up painfully separating, leaving Élie bruised. The one who needs love so much – as he claims in the magazine Interviewin 2020: “I have an irrepressible need to love and be loved, and that’s why I go on stage!”–, finds a bond with the comedian Franck Dubosc and creates Classified ads. Funny sketches where the two friends don’t skimp on make-up or the rough features of their characters. Anti-heroes that will fuel his future one-man show: “The characters I compose in my shows don’t have much to save them: failures, mediocre, poor guys”. (SheSeptember 2005).
“There’s a crazy part of femininity in me”
For his part, Dubosc breaks through in the cinema, but Elie is still at the helm… Again he feels left out, alone: “The presence of another calms me down, I like the intellectual ping-pong that results. In private, it’s the same, I like the couple, the family life. If we don’t have someone to tell about your day, is that the fucking “blues”he explained in 2009 in Gala. In eternal search for love, he will marry and then divorce, will fall under the spell of a young blonde for ten years who will end up leaving him, he will then collect serious crushes and those from a single evening… Élie flutters. “I’m a good flirt when it comes to seducing a woman I don’t have feelings for”he says to France evening, in 2010. And still claims to be single at the moment. In 2013 he delivered to TV star : “There’s a crazy part of femininity in me… I like gardening, flowers, contemplation, decoration. I could be gay! (He laughs) (…) I’m a blue flower, let’s say” .
Comedian with a tough tooth on stage, the man turns out to be a great romantic on the private side. A fan of the artist Léo Ferré as well as of the composer Richard Wagner, he revealed himself as a smooth bossa nova singer over the course of three albums steeped in poetry. Even more surprising is his passion for horticulture and botany. From his house in Enghien-les-Bains, north of Paris, he can talk about his garden at will: “I like to give it life, to cut it in my own way”.
Subscriber to small roles He is in all the popular French movies and series without ever being the headliner… “I created secret places, in the shade, in the sun”. (France SundaySeptember 2020). “It’s as if I was standing in front of a blank page. Nothing is frozen in a garden. It’s a living spectacle, forever evolving. The artist I am expresses myself in it in a different way.”he analyzes for TV 7 daysin 2019. Between cuttings and writing, Élie Semoun grows and renews like a plant.
A family, dramas
After the death of her mother, Denise, aged 37, was at the same age that Laurent, her younger brother, left after suffering from AIDS. Two tragedies in Elias’ life. At the end of 2020, after a year of filming with the director Marjory Déjardin, the actor sees his documentary My old man being broadcast on the LCP channel, dedicated to his father Paul, who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. He films his daily life there, taking him in the footsteps of his childhood in Morocco… Between disturbing moments and scenes of laughter, the whole is modest and moving. Paul died the same year at the age of 88.
Love and loathe
Annie Florence Jeannesson is his first and only wife, whom he will divorce in 2002. Together they have Antoine, born in 1995. In his biography, the actor confides: “She was very exclusive. Very quickly I had the feeling that she took me away from all my friends. (…) I wanted to vibrate, feel alive, be in love. So I ran away, I was a coward, I drugged myself into a frantic and sterile seduction until I cheated on Annie and fell in love with a 20-year-old girl. In this case, Juliette Gernez, a professional dancer from the Paris Opera, nineteen years his junior, with whom he lived “ten years of tormented, eventful love”. His last romance with the young Belgian Anaïs ends in December 2021, The love between the Paris region and Liège did not withstand the distance.
1999: ELIJAH AND SHEMUN After years of success with Dieudonné, he signed his first solo show, directed by Muriel Robin and written with Franck Dubosc.
2002: ELIE SEMOUN A one-man show directed by Roger Louret, the famous director who will welcome the actor in his troupe, from 1982.
2003: SONGS A spoken and sung debut album with a bossa nova background sold 80,000 copies. The next two won’t work as well.
2005: WHO IS ELIE SEMOUN? A new show, always featuring Roger Louret, which is a hit throughout France.
2008: NOTE… Darker, but still just as funny, the actor delivers an intimate show to the public, inspired by his career and a breakup.
2009: CYPRUS Co-screenwriter of this film, he plays the character of the binoculars amateur of busty blondes, born in the series Les Petites Annonces.
2011: DUCOBU STUDENT Elie Semoun perfectly embodies the psycho-rigid Professor Latouche. Three other parts of the saga follow.
2012: SLICES OF LIFE A sketch show where we find all the favorite characters created by the comedian in Les Petites Annonces.
2014: THE CREATION The actor succeeds, on the board of the Théâtre des Nouveaux, Daniel Auteuil in the role of François Pignon. A triumph.
2017: TO SHARE A half-trash, half-intimate one-man show that successfully criss-crossed France before ending up at the Casino de Paris.
2018: FORBIDDEN PLAN In this book, Élie Semoun reveals his passion for plants and gardens through his own poetic texts and photos.
2019: ÉLIE SEMOUN AND HIS MONSTERS A seventh show staged by Fred Hazan and followed by a monumental tour.
See also: “No sex…”, Elie Semoun reveals what Jamel Debbouze forbids comedians participating in “Marrakech du rire” and why!