His difficult childhood, his wife, adultery, his role as father (and grandfather), his fear of death, his quarrel with Ruquier… Secrets and crazy anecdotes of the innkeeper journalist.
Philippe Bouvard celebrated his 93rd birthday December 6, 2022. An emblematic figure of journalism, unforgettable ex-host of the Big Heads, the man of the media has considerably marked the French, through the generations. His childhood during the Second World War, his small jobs, his wifehis side “unfaithful“, his role as a father, his fear of aginghis rivalry with Laurent Ruquier… Secrets of the nonagenarian who has lost none of his banter.
Philippe Bouvard, abandoned by his father
Philippe Bouvard was born in Coulommiers in Seine-et-Marne in 1929. He is the only son of Marcel Bouvarda greengrocer in Morocco before becoming a director of companies in France, and a mother of Jewish Alsatian origin named Andree Gensburger, optician. But the day he was born, his father left his mother in him stealing money and jewelry. Philippe Bouvard, him, only meets his biological father oncebut still grew up with a father figure, in the person of Jules Luzzato, his stepfather.
Philippe Bouvard, hidden during the war
During the Second World Warhe hides with his mother in no fewer than ten homes, while her stepfather was arrested for resistance. His adoptive grandparents are deported and murdered in Auschwitz.
Philippe Bouvard: this meeting that changed everything
It was during his earliest childhood that Philippe Bouvard began to consider the profession of writer. While on vacation in Cannes, at the age of eight, he saw Jean Cocteau, drives in a limo, and deduces that writing makes a lot of money. In 1944, at age 14, he launched his first high school newspaper, School 44. “My first diary I edited it when I was 6 years old. It was three or four half-pages that an old printer uncle had printed, and that I had distributed to the family (…) In fact I believe that if I had been shipwrecked on a desert island, I would have created a journal for the monkeys“, he told FranceInfo.
Philippe Bouvard, fired and caught red-handed
The budding writer fail the baccalaureate no less than three timesthen entered the Training Center for Journalists (CFJ) in Paris, before being fired. The young student, who gets paid to do other people’s homeworkreceives anything but glowing reviews: “Not good at journalism but will do well in business professions”. Obviously, the author of this note was sorely lacking in intuition…
Philippe Bouvard: from his food jobs to the fulfillment of his dream
Before becoming a journalist, Philippe Bouvard worked for a time as a encyclopedia marketer then sunglasses seller at Lissac. In 1953, he entered the photographic service of Figaro as a courier, then rose through the ranks until receiving his press card a few months later.
Philippe Bouvard: what he hid from his wife
The same year (53), he married Colette Sauvage. Both become parents of two daughters, Dominicaborn in 1954, and Natalie, which was born ten years later. At the start of their relationship, the journalist hid his Jewish origins from Colette Sauvage and even made himself baptize in secret to be able to marry in church with the chosen one of his heart.
Philippe Bouvard: what he did not “digest”
In 2014, after hosting the Big heads for nearly 40 years, he was replaced at the controls of the show by Laurent Ruquier. A change that he saw as a real betrayal. In Midi Libre, in 2019, he confessed not having “digested” his eviction. “I must be the only one in the history of radio who was replaced by the one who had been trying to catch up in vain for years“, he dropped in reference to Ruquier. And to add on his departure: “It was very hard because I had been totally invested in Big Heads for 37 years“.
Philippe Bouvard: tensions with Ruquier
However, before being replaced by Laurent Ruquier, the two animators had already worked together. Philippe Bouvard intervened in the program of the presenter, We’re going to get embarrassedon Europe 1. But again, the situation had been a bit tense. “It didn’t go well when we worked together (…) He thought my career was over, he was delighted that I no longer competed with him (…) He wanted a little revenge. He didn’t say bad things on the air but he systematically cut off everything I said“, he had told in his book Lumps in the Colander.
Philippe Bouvard: his role as father (and grandfather)
“I try to be a best grandpa that I have never been a father. I am becoming a patriarch thanks to my great-grandchildren. It’s very nice. Two daughters, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, that’s a nice table”, had entrusted to Paris Match the journalist, in 2019.
Philippe Bouvard, “old bumblebee” and unfaithful with his wife
With his wife either, he was not the ideal husband, enough busy chasing petticoats, in her youth. “My greatest quality is a certain fidelity through infidelities (…) My wife had a lot of courage. We have just celebrated our sixty-five years of marriage. I’m not sure if it’s really a reward for her“, he added. In Galahe had also paid tribute to his wife: “To the patience it took to put up with me, it adds a flawless memory and great ability to prepare small dishes. She is the queen of the family hive of which I am only the old bumblebee“.
Philippe Bouvard is afraid of the end
Regarding his age, the former host of Big heads is concerned. He is even anxious at the thought of dying one day. “It’s annoying, because I’m going to the end of lifeand I don’t have the impression of having finished my existence (…) I took so much pleasure, at work first, but also at all the conveniences that life can offer to someone who is a little known and which does not have too many difficult end of the month, that the fact of leaving everything suddenly, or not, makes me sad. But it’s not in my nature to be“, he had admitted on FranceInfo.