By Dale Ricardo Shields
“Samuel Légitimus (born in Paris on ) is the son of television producer Hégésippe Légitimus, known as “Gésip”. His mother is the journalist Noema Thomassine (better known in the West Indies under the signature of “Noema”). He is the grandson of Darling Légitimus and cousin of Pascal Légitimus , who initiates him from his childhood to the art of theatrical improvisation.” [fr.wikipedia]
“Attracted at a very young age by the world of the spectacle, he responds to announcements, participates in castings and picks up small roles and figurations in several feature films.
He dubbed and recorded the voices of several commercials for radio and television (including the famous “Pasta, pasta, yes but …” with Michel Colombier), participates in the films The Uns and Other Claude Lelouch , The Pawn of Christian Gion (alongside Claude Piéplu and Henri Guybet ) and Clara and the Chiques Types of Jacques Monnet with Isabelle Adjani …
Major, he studies for a few years the law, then the theatrical theory at the new Sorbonne. At the same time, he co-hosts for two years the radio program Délires on Radio D’OM.
He soon met a group of amazing artists, the Macmadedowns, with whom he wrote and directed a play, Jackpot, which parodies British comedies. The play will be premiered at the Berry-Zebra Theater in Paris.
In 1989, he received the entrance examination for the first class of the Chaillot National Theater School under the “reign” of Jérôme Savary. He tackles classical theater and deepens his acting with Andrzej Seweryn, Nita Klein and Michel Lopez. He will be Andrzej Seweryn’s assistant in the staging of William Shakespeare’s play Pieces d’amour perdues. His godmother is Annie Girardot.
After 2 years spent in Chaillot, he directed and performed in 1991 Harold Pinter’s Monte-plats, with Dan Thorens, at the Cité internationale de Paris. He will then play the role of a colored Epikodov in The Garden of Cherries, adapted from The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov, directed by Romuald Sciora at the Lucernaire Theater.
He finds in Afro-American culture, and especially in the writings of writer James Baldwin (1924-1987), an echo to his own ideas and concerns. It will be born a musical show titled Good – Never Despair inspired by blues and gospels adapted by Marguerite Yourcenar . The show will be performed at the Berry-Zebra theater in Paris and Amiens during a tribute to the Amiens Film Festival to his grandmother Darling Legitimus. The troupe includes his sister Diana Belkreir- Légitimus, singer-songwriter, his brother and the singer David Légitimus and the actress-singer Sylvie Laporte.
In 1995, he co-wrote, staged, and performed Harry Bottleneck’s The Fabulous Life, a children’s musical show presenting the history of jazz, a commission of the Vésinet theater.
In 1996, he stayed in Bastia and played in Thomas Brasch’s Femmes, Guerre et Comédie, directed by François Bergoin. He then goes on – and performs – for the “Premier Geste” festival at the Espace Kiron, after having translated it from English, The Midnight Hour or A Night in the Life of James Baldwin, play to a character of the Scottish author James Campbell.
In January 1997, invited by the Afro-American community of Paris, he participated as a reciter to the tribute to Martin Luther King at the 4th International Gospel Festival in Paris at the Auditorium des Halles.
The director Gabriel Garran ] goes up to the Tilf (International French Language Theater) Koffi Kwahulé’s play Bintou in collaboration with Pascal N’Zonzi and chooses Samuel to play the role of Drissa, the incestuous uncle of the heroine (first role in the theater of the actress Aïssa Maïga 1 ).
In 1998, he presented at the La Villette Blues for Mister Baldwin Jazz Festival a demonstration/tribute to James Baldwin to celebrate the tenth year of his death in France.
He creates and stages The Coin of Amen, the first play by James Baldwin, which he presents at the TILF and at the Swiss Cultural Center in Paris.
He lends his voice to various radio plays on France Culture, participates in numerous meetings and human rights protests, and notably stints James Baldwin‘s Sonny’s Blues in Montreal.
He meets and collaborates with African-American author and filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles on the French adaptation of his musical comedy, Do not Play Us Cheap, which becomes A Party in Harlem.
In 2007, on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the author’s death, he staged the French creation of James Baldwin’s Corner of the Amen adapted by Marguerite Yourcenar to the Bois de Vincennes Sword Theater and during the 37 th Cultural Festival of the city of Fort-de-France in Martinique.
In 2010, he collaborated on writing and directed the staging of Attila, Queen of the Belgians, a single-in-scene of Marie-Élisabeth Cornet presented at the Fires of the ramp, the Lucernaire, and the European.
In 2011, he directed The Islands of Chadian author Koulsy Lamko at the modern Parisian washhouse.
He has also worked for many years on the translation and promotion in France of African American theater classics, including Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun and Ossie Davis’s Purlie Victorious.
Samuel Légitimus held from 2012 to 2013 a Hall of Fame category of Black artists and humanists in the quarterly magazine Respect Magazine .” – [fr. wikipedia]