Jean Servais

Famous Actors, Musicians and Philosophers in Antwerp, Belgium


Actors and directors

Ulu Grosbard (1929-2012)
film director. Ulu Grosbard was born in Antwerp in 1929, but had to emigrate with his family – they went to the USA via Cuba. Initially, Grosbard was very successful as a theater director. He was able to quickly bring his talent to bear on Broadway and was also convincing there. From 1968 he became an active leader in the film business with “Rosen für die Lady”. He was honored as Best Director at the Independent Spirit Awards. His milestones include film titles such as “Falling for Love” (1984) and “Georgia” (1995). Ulu Grosbard died in New York in 2012.

Paul de Roubaix (1914-2004)
film director and producer. Paul de Roubaix was born in Antwerp in 1914. He called his production company, which he founded in 1954 and with which he made well over 600 films, Les Films du Centaure. His repertoire includes many Oscar-winning films that have been awarded the Golden Palm of Cannes. An example is the short film “La rivière du hibou” (1962), which won all of these prizes, including a BAFTA. He also excelled as a director, for example in 1980 with “Le miroir de la terre”. Paul de Roubaix, whose son often composed film music for him, died in Marseille in 2004.

Jean Servais (1910-1976)
actor. Jean Aimé Antoine Servais was born in Antwerp in 1910 as the son of an officer. The law student, who later switched to acting, mastered stages in the theater, film and television. He achieved greater fame and notoriety through “Rififi” (1955) by Jules Dassin. He also received the Étoile de Cristal for his role as a jewel robber in the film. Servais, who also starred in films such as the American war films “The Longest Day” (1962) and “You fear neither death nor the devil” (1966) as well as in French fairy tale films such as “Eselshaut” (1970) and other productions, died in Paris in 1976.

Jean Servais

Musicians and composers

Jacob Barbireau (c. 1455-1491)
composer. Jacob Barbireau was born in 1455 and 1456 to a family of the patriciate of Antwerp, Belgium according to ehistorylib. Seven works by the composer, who was also known as Jacques B., have survived, for example “Missa Virgo Parens Christi” or “Missa Faulx Perverse”. He taught on behalf of King Guillaume de Ternay, played psalms at services and headed a choir. Jacob Barbireau was particularly active in the main church of Notre Dame in Antwerp and finally died in his hometown in 1491.

Tom Barman (born 1972)
musician, filmmaker. Tom Johannes Barman was born in Antwerp in 1972 and initially studied at the Brussels Film School. But he switched to the music business without a degree and founded the band dEUS. The musician, who was awarded the Prize of Democracy for his 0110 festival, shoots the clips for his songs himself. He also released a short film at the end of the 1990s: “Turnpike”. But Barman mainly devotes himself to concerts. He plays guitar and sings, works on acoustic and dance projects, and covers David Bowie when he’s not playing his own songs.

La Esterella (1919-2011)
singer. Esther Lambrechts was born in Antwerp in 1919 and made a name for herself with her dark voice as Zarah Leander of Belgium far beyond her national borders. The original seamstress celebrated her biggest hit with “Oh! Lieve Vrouwetoren” in 1953, even if many more chart toppers came afterwards. La Esterella, who was the first Flemish singer to sing on TV, including in the London BBC television studio, also released a German single: “And again a beautiful day comes to an end” (1942/1943). She, who has received several awards and honors – also accepted as an officer in the Order of the Leopold – died in 2011 in her hometown.

Jacqueline Fontyn (born 1930)
pianist, composer and professor. Jacqueline Fontyn was born in Antwerp in 1930 and composed her first piano pieces at the age of nine. Five years later she decided to become a professional composer. Numerous works by this contemporary musician followed, such as 1957 “Vent d’Est” for accordion and 12 strings or in 2002 “Ein (Kleines) Winternachtstraum” for orchestra or 2004 “Hamadryades” for piano, played four hands. She continuously develops her style in an expressive way and has therefore received numerous prizes such as the Prix de Rome. Fontyn has also taught as a music teacher in Seoul, Tel Aviv and Los Angeles as well as at various universities such as the American University in Washington.

Frédérique Petrides (1903-1983)
conductor. Frederica Jeanne Elisabeth Petronille Mayer was born in Antwerp in 1903 and first studied violin and then conducting in the USA. In 1933 she founded the women’s orchestra, later known as the “Orchestrette of New York”. Petrides conducted this in the famous Carnegie Hall, among other places. In addition, she published a work, “Women in Music”, which strengthened the back of musical women and paved professional career paths. Petrides received the National Federation of Musicians’ Merit Award in 1979 and died in New York in 1983.

Philosophers and theologians

Paul de Man (1919-1983)
philosopher. Paul de Man was born in Antwerp in 1919, but moved to the USA, where he studied at Harvard and obtained his doctorate. The philosopher and literary theorist then worked primarily at various universities in the USA and taught at Yale as a comparative literature professor from 1970 until his death. There he worked out his theses and established himself as a representative of the Yale Critics. He also published some books such as “The Ideology of the Aesthetic” or “Allegories of Reading”. De Man died in New Haven in 1983.

Edward Schillebeeckx (1914-2009)
Dominican religious and Roman Catholic theologian. Edward Schillebeeckx was born in Antwerp in 1914 and had a total of 13 siblings. But he worked his way up to one of the leading theologians of his time. He has published books such as “Because politics is not everything. Talking about God in a threatened world” (1987) or “I don’t stop believing in the living God: Conversations with Francesco Strazzari” (2006) and taught as a professor in Nijmegen. Incidentally, he was against the duty of celibacy for priests. Edward Schillebeeckx died in Nijmegen in 2009.

Franz Bernardin Verbeck (1686-1756)
auxiliary bishop in Münster, Franciscan. Franz Bernardin Verbeck was born in Antwerp in 1686 and was trained as a stone carver before joining the Franciscan order at the beginning of the 18th century. In 1713 he was awarded the priesthood in Cologne. Franz Bernardin Verbeck, who then passed his theological doctorate and spent the rest of his life as auxiliary and titular bishop, died in Kleve in 1756.