Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin, Minister of Culture, pays tribute to René de Obaldia, French playwright, poet and academician.
Born in Hong Kong to a Panamanian diplomat father, who disappeared at birth, and a French mother, René de Obaldia, heir to a tumultuous family history, has always called himself “dazed to be.” From this eternal surprise springs a joyful, facetious and poetic pen, which has blossomed in all literary genres.
At the end of the Second World War, after four years in a Stalag in Silesia, René de Obaldia publishes a first collection of poems Midday (1949) while carrying out an intense activity as a lyricist, especially for Luis Mariano. His texts then evolved towards poetic prose and then the novel. He published his first novel Tamerlane of hearts in 1955. Two stories follow: Running away to Waterloo and The Passion of Emile, for which he received the Grand Prix de l'Humour noir, the first distinction of a long series. He subsequently received the Marcel Proust Prize and the November Prize for his book of memoirs Exobiography (1993).
A playwright «by accident» as he said, René de Obaldia met with great success from his first plays. Wind in the branches of sassafras (1966) , with Michel Simon in the lead role, is a triumph. His other plays, among which Obaldia Street, La Baby-sitter, Les Bons Bourgeoisinternational reputation. In 1993, he received the Molière award for best Mr. Klebs and Rozalie as well as a Molière d'honneur for his entire theatrical work.
Elected to the Académie française in 1999, in the chair of Julien Green, René de Obaldia was Commander of the Legion of Honour, Officer of the National Order of Merit and Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters.
Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin extends her sincere condolences to all her readers, friends, family and members of the Académie française.