Website last updated: 17-7-2024

In Memoriam of actress Saskia Cohen-Tanugi (1959-2020)

By: Anders Frejdh
Saskia Cohen-Tanugi and Sean Connery 1983
FSWL is sad to report the passing of Saskia Cohen-Tanugi at the age of 61. The Tunisian-born actress and theatre director portrayed Nicole opposite Sean Connery in the 1983 James Bond film Never Say Never Again directed by Irvin Kershner. Our thoughts now go to Saskia's family and friends.

Golden Globe nominated actress and FSWL supporter Barbara Carrera who portrayed Fatima Blush in Never Say Never Again remembers Saskia:

“Very sorry to hear about Saskia. Even though she and I had no scenes together, I remember her enthusiasm on the set.. She was a lovely and talented actress who will be missed by all who knew her.”

About Saskia Cohen-Tanugi

Born in Tunis in 1959, she attended the National Conservatory of Dramatic Art, where she had Antoine Vitez as professor. She graduated from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Sorbonne, where her talent was quickly spotted by her teachers. It must be said that she was only 16 when she created her first show. Passionate about theater and cinema, Saskia was a true character in an adventure novel! In 1983, she played alongside Sean Connery in his comeback film as Ian Fleming's 007, Never Say Never Again.

Saskia Cohen-Tanugi with Sean Connery on the set of Never Say Never Again in 1983
Saskia Cohen-Tanugi with Sean Connery on the set of Never Say Never Again in 1983. Copyright © 1983 Warner Brothers Pictures & Taliafilm Enterprises. All rights reserved.

The same year, in 1983, she also worked on The Hawk directed by Paul Boujenah. During her stay in Great Britain, she took the opportunity to train at the Shakespearean theater and she was even a rock correspondent for Liberation in London!

Bold, talkative, insatiable, she quickly impressed big names on the theater scene. For example, René Gonzalez who entrusted her with the production of The Merchant of Venice, by Shakespeare, at the Gérard-Philipe Theater in Saint-Denis, in 1983. The following year, we saw her in Avignon present Doctor X Hero or the last guest of the Ritz, a science fiction show.

Always in search of new challenges, she left in 1988 for New Caledonia, where she worked for a year on the preparation of the Festival des arts du Pacifique. But she was always on the move - In 1989, she returned to Paris, where she directed Le Banc, by Russian Alexandre Guelman, at the Studio des Champs-Élysées with Élisabeth Depardieu and Jean-Michel Dupuis. The show was one of her great successes. Her curiosity would later lead her to write a screenplay on contemporary Africa with director Patrick Grandperret.

During her life, she crossed paths with screen icons such as Kirk Douglas who played the starring role of Veraz in the 1991 film that she wrote with Xavier Castano. Bernardo Bertolucci asked her to participate in the writing of Little Buddha and Diane Kurys called on her writing talents for the screenplay of Children of the Century.

But her passion went beyond writing. From 1995 to 1999, she was in charge of the artistic programming of Théâtre 13, in Paris. Then she taught for a few years at the École du Théâtre national de Chaillot. In 1997, she directed Jean-Michel Dupuis in L’Orage et la Prière, by Salomon Ibn Gabirol, a powerful and enlightened show. And in 1999 her adaptation of Mademoiselle Else was nominated for Molières four times. Under her direction, Isabelle Carré won the Molière for Best Actress and Pascale Bordet won for Best Costume.

She moved to Israel in the late 1990s where she taught and ran a theater workshop at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, directing many productions there.

Saskia Cohen-Tanugi was truly a “Renaissance woman” of the arts and will be missed by the entire Bond community.



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