Samuel Légitimus


SAMUEL LEGITIMUS “Being a Black artist in Paris”
directed by Pierre Cissé – Tranche de vie (Outre-Mer 1st – May 12, 2017)

In the Légitimus family, Samuel is the great-grandson of Guadeloupe Hégésippe Légitimus, the first Black deputy of France, the grandson of the actress Darling Légitimus, the son of the producer Gésip Légitimus and the cousin of Pascal Légitimus.

Samuel Légitimus defines himself as a cultural actor in a society where he cannot exercise his profession as an actor without being offered exclusively “black roles” … because he is Black! However, he came from the first class of Jérome Savary’s School in Chaillot (1989-2001).
Samuel then looks at the work of an African-American writer fighting for the civil rights of his people in American society: James Baldwin. He identifies with him to the point of claiming to be “Baldwinian”. In 1993, he created the James Baldwin Collective.

Samuel Légitimus claims not to limit himself to his Caribbean identity. Born in Bondy and having grown up in Paris and very quickly had to “deal with” his skin color.

Like Baldwin, he is a Black designer living in a White society with the added weight of the legacy of slavery.

Visitez la page page Wiki de Samuel Légitimus –égitimus


Samuel Légitimus was born into the first family of Black artists in Paris.

His father, Hégésippe Légitimus, or simply “Gésip” as he was often called, was the first Black television producer in France.  His mother, Noéma Thomassine, better known in the West Indies by the name of “Noéma”, was a journalist.

Gesip et Noema

“GESIP LEGITIMUS, my father started his career at a very young age. He was only three months old when he appeared as the Black baby in Sacha Guitry’s first talking film: Le Blanc et le Noir (The White and the Black), with Raimu and Fernandel, for whom it was also the first film. As an actor, Gésip went on to play in more than 50 films. In 1960 he obtained the leading role in “Gala”, a short film directed by Jean-Daniel Pollet and François Bel.  
He became co-producer of the first film directed by the Hungarian Lazlo Szabo, “Les Gants Blancs du Diable” (The Devil’s White Gloves) starring Bernadette Lafont and Jean-Pierre Kalfon. In theatre, where he started playing at the age of 8 alongside Jean-Louis Barrault, Henri Rollan, Henry Crémieux, and Lucien Coedel, he learned how to direct by becoming Raymond Rouleau’s assistant at the Edouard VII theatre in 1948 for Tennessee Williams’s play “A Streetcar Named Desire”, starring Arletty, Louis De Funès, Milly Mathis, Darling Légitimus, etc…. and in 1952 at the Sarah Bernhardt Theatre in “The Crucible” with Yves Montand, Simone Signoret, Nicole Courcel, Pierre Mondy, and his mother Darling Légitimus. In 1960 he collaborated with Roger Blin at the Théâtre de Lutèce, creating “Les Nègres”, a play by Jean Genet with the troupe “Les Griots”. Wanting to artistically support his compatriots in Metropolitan France, he founded the Federation of French-speaking Black Artists which helped theatre companies such as “Les Griots” and “Le Théâtre Noir”, run by his brother Théo. In 1966 he was congratulated by President Senghor and Aimé Césaire for leading the French artist’s delegation at the World Festival of Negro Arts in Dakar, with Josephine Baker, Marpessa Dawn, and Moune de Rivel. In 1979 he was named director of the Theatre de la Renaissance and founded the CICAF (International Centre for French-speaking Audiovisual Creation). Gésip Légitimus was very concerned about the evolution of the black Diaspora and in 1981 the “Légitimus Report” enabled him to obtain, in the form of the Fillioud law of 1982, the creation of the National Society of Overseas Radio and Television Programs (RFO). In 1982, in Paris, he created the first West-Indian broadcasting station outside the territory to which it transmits (Tropique FM) all the while producing the “Overseas Calendar”, a weekly information page concerning the latest artistic and cultural overseas news, broadcast on RFO. He died in Paris on the 18th of January (2000) at the age of 69.”

Manu Dibango joined his old partner, my father Gésip Légitimus, missing 20 years ago (January 18, 2000).
With these two reunited, sure something huge is coming up for our diaspora!
(A thought also for Darling Légitimus, Jenny Alpha, Henri Salvador, Robert Liensol, Med Hondo, Georges Hilarion, Bachir Touré, Georges Aminel, Al Lirvat, Ti Marcel, Moune de Rivel, Josie Mas and many others (Baby, the list is long!..) all those pioneers who paved the way for us and that we too tend to forget…)


The 4 Brothers 

Théo, Gustave, Gesip, and Clément

He is the grandson of the famous actress, the late Darling Légitimus (who won the Golden Lion at Venice in 1983 for her role of Man Tine in Euzhan Palcy’s “Sugar Cane Alley”) and the cousin of the famous actor and comedian Pascal Légitimus.

Darling Légitimus

Darling Légitimus

Darling Légitimus (born Mathilda (Marie-Berthilde) Paruta on 21 November 1907 at Le Carbet, died 7 December 1999 at Kremlin-Bicetre) was a French actress from Caribbean black artists. She was the mother of Gesip Légitimus (1930–2000) artist and television producer, Theo Légitimus, actor, Pascal Légitimus comedian in the “Inconnus” troupe, Diana Légitimus artist, Samuel Légitimus, actor, and David Légitimus, French singers and Billie Richardson, English singer.
On this occasion, here is the transcript of an interview granted to Antenna 2, on October 21, 1983, following his Grand Prix of interpretation at the Venice Mostra for Rue Cases Negres by Euzhan Palcy.
Darling Legitimus, for decades, with modesty, has been working in our best theaters, in our best companies, with Roger Blin, and Jean-Marie Serreau, at the service of Jean Gene and Aimé Césaire. Today, suddenly, for Euzhan Palcy’s film Rue Cases Négres, she got the Grand Prize for Female Interpretation at the last Biennial in Venice.
It was a Black Theatre. The Antillean community of Paris paid tribute to Darling Legitimus, Grand Prix of Female Interpretation at the 1983 Mostra de Venice for “Rue Cases Nègres” by Euzhan Palcy. In a cake grandma in the 30s, ready to sacrifice so her grandson cane plantations that she used, Darling Legitimus, 75, is upsetting. But without pouring into the pathetic. His long theatrical career with the greatest: Blin, Serreau, Genet, and Césaire taught him to be modest in his effects. But very happy with this new triumph.
Darling Legitimus – I was happy because, for my compatriots, the Antilles, even Africans. All black people all over the world Because it was the first time a Black woman was given an award. Sure, there were black athletes and all… But as a comedian, it seems I’m the first to receive this award. So, I was very proud of my countrymen, because I knew they would be even more proud than me. And when they asked me, at one point: “Darling, your last word for the end?” “I would say… “Long live Africa! “Because I told myself if I say “Vive la France!” “That’s not it!” It would be nice to tell me that my ancestors were Gauls… No, it just won’t. They gonna pay for my head “Long live the Antilles! “No, it’s not that again!” I’m hugging everyone. I say “Long live Africa!” 
Q- In your opinion, What can different from black comedians bring?
Darling Legitimus – (think for a moment) I don’t know if the people are right. They always say Black people they good at singing, dancing, and all But you know, it’s the same everywhere. Black and Whites some White people aren’t gifted. Black people too its the same. So I do not see a difference
(After being a dancer for Joséphine Baker, Darling Legitimus joined the first black troupe, Les Griots, and created with them Les Nègres de Jean Genet in 1959. )
Darling Legitimus – First we went on a date with Genet He came back from Algeria and wanted to know Darling, supposedly he had been told a lot about me. And he wanted to realize it for himself. So Roger Blin is coming through with a text. And I read like that. And he says to Roger “You have to take her now.” Like this, just like that. As we drink a glass of water.
Q – And how important was this role to you?
Darling Legitimus – Amazing! At one point, there is the oratory jolt with the White Queen coming from Europe with all her tribe, her bishop… At one point she says to me:
“Oh, let us see, even if I die, your majesty, I shall come from beyond, and penetrate through all your holes.” Like this, you will be bothered. “
– Oh! Ouch! Ouch! But I’ll fart ma’am And you’ll be at the door! “
I would ratchet her ass. But it was a triumph! A triumph, this piece!
(A Season in the Congo by Aimé Césaire, directed by Jean-Marie Serreau. The poet of negligence met the director most open to third-world cultures. With Serreau, Darling Legitimus will still be Queen Christophe, If she has, afterward, played under the direction of Raymond Rouleau with Suzanne Flon and Simone Signoret, it is from her work with Roger Blin and Jean-Marie Serreau that she keeps the best memory. These them theaters men were always worried they didn’t respect their Black comedians enough. )
Darling Legitimus – And you know, at one point I felt they were afraid to say a word… you know… not moved but, may it be us… N E V E R ! A perfection. I have never .. I often hear about angry directors, like Rouleau and all that… Blin, a soft bread as they say at home. A toffee, a sweet candy, a curly lamb. Never have I seen Blin get angry. (… ) The main thing is that I’m doing theater. Big roles, extras, it didn’t matter. This is the profession that interests me. Because afterward, I was like… Going to the conservatory, they would have made fun of me. Cause I wanted to go home to sing. And I saw the others laughing a little. So, I said well, the theater, bit by bit. And then I will tell you something I never forgot. Raimu sir once told me that, youngsters believed that we are becoming celebrities overnight. My daughter told me, it takes 25-30 years of profession to become a so-called little celebrity. So never! Never cocky or cocky. Just give me anything. You would have told me: “Darling, sweep the studio, we’re going to shoot you!” “I would have done it.” 
Q – How do you work a role?
Darling Legitimus – Well, they give me the text. “Say, darling, look… ” I NEVER read a text. When the director says to me, “So, darling, did you like that?” “Oh yes, this is beautiful!” It will be successful. “I say to myself: liar.” You didn’t do anything! ” During the rehearsal … I want to see the first rehearsal with all the comrades so I can catch the reaction of such and such. Well, he going to tell me that, I’ll just have to do this and that. This is helpful. Otherwise, I repeat not at home. Cause I play my way. I don’t play like everyone else. I tell a lot of actors “You want to hire me, but I’m no comedian! “For me, the comedies are those that have been at the conservatory. I have never been there. No, don’t say I’m a comedian because I’m not. Singer yes, because I’ve been studying for ten years. For the singing, I wanted to be a teacher. but other than that I’m dancing, putting my foot up… I’m improvising!
Pascal Légitimus.

Pascal Légitimus.

 Pascal Légitimus (born 13 March 1959) is a French actor and humorist. He is a member of the famous French humor band Les Inconnus
He is the son of an Armenian theater seamstress, Madeleine Kambourian, and the of an Antillean actor, Théo Légitimus.[1] He is also the grandson of Martiniquais comedian Darling Légitimus and the nephew of television producer Gésip Légitimus.