Yves Montand (1921 - 1991) was an Italian-born French actor and singer.
Montand leaned forward and stared at me rather menacingly. I was impressed by his ability to give a political speech in the privacy of his living room. But I was taken aback when he paused for breath and spoke to me directly. Until that moment I had the feeling that I was sitting in the front row of an auditorium, listening to a politician who was trying to get my vote.
“Many people think that they will have no talent according to which government is in power. It’s not the government or the political philosophy that gives you talent. You have to have it first. Or you don’t have it. That’s why life is cruel. Life is not roses. Life is hard; you can lose it at any moment, at any age.”
Montand leapt from subject to subject, interspersing English noun and French verbs. I pointed out that he had been unnecessarily bad tempered during the interview, for I had understood what he was saying, but I would have preferred to talk about his acting career and leave politics in abeyance for a while.
“Oh, no. I hope I was unpleasant. Was I? No, let me explain why… You see…there are people who just give any old interview. But I can’t. I give myself completely. I can’t help it, and I can’t do otherwise. It’s a terrible weakness of mine.”
Read the full excerpt from Through Parisian Eyes [PDF]