Death of Frédéric Mitterrand: the former Minister of Culture with a thousand lives lost to cancer

Frédéric Mitterrand had been fighting against “aggressive cancer” for a year.

Death of Frédéric Mitterrand: the former Minister of Culture with a thousand lives lost to cancer

Frédéric Mitterrand had been fighting against “aggressive cancer” for a year. He died this Thursday March 2, 2014 at the age of 76.

“Bonsouaaar!”, if Frédéric Mitterrand is no more, died this Thursday March 21 at the age of 76, he leaves behind such a particular phrasing and an overflowing energy. He used to welcome viewers with this “Good evening” which characterized him during the presentation of “Du Côté de Chez Fred” until 1991. An introduction that has become cult. Minister of culture, filmmaker, producer, journalist, writer, he had been fighting cancer for more than a year, says Le Figaro.

Man of letters and television, Frédéric Mitterrand, nephew of the former president, was elected to the Academy of Fine Arts in 2019. Born August 21, 1947 in Paris, in the 16th arrondissement, he was the last of three boys. His father, Robert Mitterrand, a senior civil servant and older brother of François Mitterrand, joined the Resistance, while his mother, Edith Cahier, raised the three sons.

In 1960, at age 12, he played in Fortunat, alongside Bourvil and Michèle Morgan, remembers Le Monde. After the death of the actress, in 2016, Frédéric Mitterrand said he was "collapsed" by the death of the woman who considered him his cinema son. After studying at the Institute of Political Studies in Paris, he was eligible for the ENA in 1968. However, he decided not to take the oral exam. In 1971, he bought the Olympic movie theater in Paris, which, under his management, became a haunt for moviegoers.

While his uncle was elected President of the Republic, he proposed the program Étoiles et Toils, which he hosted on TF1 from 1981. He then joined the public service and worked with Antenne 2 until 1991. In 1995, he supports the candidacy of Jacques Chirac for the presidential election. In 2009, he was appointed Minister of Culture and Communication by Nicolas Sarkozy, a position he held until 2012. In 2016, Frédéric Mitterrand provided his support to François Hollande for the 2017 presidential election. Which will not be ultimately not a candidate for his succession. He is also president of the Deauville American Film Festival.

Frédéric Mitterrand was born Mitterrand. And it is not given to everyone to be able to assume such a surname. Throughout his career, however, he said he was proud to bear the name of his paternal uncle, François Mitterrand. "At 13, I loved François Mitterrand, who was the statue of the family commander and who was my father's great love and so we talked constantly and I admired General de Gaulle, whose works I had just read. Memoirs. I was 13, it was complicated,” he concedes in Matins, October 28, 2013.

A hard legacy to carry, therefore, because the figure of François Mitterrand is “omnipresent within the family”. Their relationship is not necessarily “pleasant” as he indicated, still in 2013, in the show Les Nuits on France Culture. Which doesn't stop her from having "a lot of admiration" for him. Comments confirmed in the show Le Divan, in 2015: “He was omnipresent in my family”.

For several months, Frédéric Mitterrand had been fighting "against an aggressive cancer" details a press release from the family. On April 14, 2023, on the Cnews set, the nephew of the former President of the Republic admitted to being “sick”. “I wear a cap because I’m sick,” he said. "Everyone knows that it's a very tough fight. But there is no other solution: it's make or die. People tell me that I have a lot of courage but no. If we love life, let’s continue!” he said. That day, he also decided to pay tribute to the courage of certain personalities determined to break the taboo and the silence around cancer. Singer Florent Pagny is a “tremendous” example according to him. “I find this boy wonderful. First of all, as an artist, he is a very remarkable person. And I find it wonderful that he says things and puts his fight forward the way he does.”

When the death of Frédéric Mitterrand was announced on Thursday March 21, tributes multiplied, starting with many former Ministers of Culture. Jack Lang reacted to his death in a post published on . Our common loyalty to François Mitterrand united us deeply,” he wrote.

Guest of BFM TV Thursday March 21, Roselyne Bachelot deplored the death “of a friend, of a brother to whom [she was] deeply attached […] I really have immense, deep grief.” On the set of C à Vous, Stéphane Bern, who learned of the death of his friend live, paid tribute to Frédéric Mitterrand: "He was my model, he was a friend [...] I knew he was ill , obviously,” he added, before praising the man who was “an immense writer.” For his part, Emmanuel Macron sent his thoughts to the family of the deceased.

Nicolas Sarkozy also reacted on social networks, writing: "He was a deeply cultivated and delicate man, a being apart, sensitive and endearing, an unclassifiable personality [...] He was an enthusiastic and passionate Minister of Culture, who carried out his duties with panache and talent. During one of his last media appearances, Frédéric Mitterrand reacted, in January 2024, to the reshuffle of Gabriel Attal and in particular to the appointment of Rachida Dati to the Ministry of Culture, a position he held from 2009 to 2012. He had assured, on the franceinfo set, that his successor was going to “learn very quickly”. She also reacted to his death on profound humanity, his humor, his kindness, his gentleness, his constant attention to others, which he manifested until his last breath,” wrote Rachida Dati.

In 2005, he recounted his sexual and paid wanderings in Thailand and the Maghreb in La Mauvaise vie. The book will spark a lively controversy, forcing Frédéric Mitterrand to defend himself from any relationship with minors or advocating child crime. At the time, Marine Le Pen accused him of pedophilia in the show Mots Croissants on France 2.

The spokesperson for the Socialist Party, Benoît Hamon, also protests against the practices of the former Minister of Culture. Three days later, he was invited by the Head of State to explain himself in the 8 p.m. news on TF1. Finally, on September 27, 2009, Frédéric Mitterrand defended the filmmaker Roman Polanski, accused of having had a sexual relationship with a 13-year-old girl and regretted his arrest in Switzerland in a case dating from 1978. "Sexual" turbulence " who pursued him for a long time.