Bouquet was born in Paris in 1925 and after taking acting lessons he began a long-term working relationship with playwright Jean Anouilh and director André Barsacq, performing in plays such as Roméo et Jeanette and many more. others at the Théâtre de l’Atelier in Monmarte. .
He played many Shakespearean roles and, over the following decades, helped introduce French audiences to plays by British writer Harold Pinter.
In 1998, he received the Molière, the highest French theatrical distinction, for his role in Potier in Les Côtelettes by Bertrand Blier, then again for his role in the absurd drama Exit the King by Eugène Ionesco in 2005.
A favorite of French new wave directors, Bouquet was as adept at drama as comedy, on stage or on the big screen.
He found a cinematic niche in the 1960s and 1970s playing ordinary French people with complicated personal lives in films like An Unfaithful Woman and Just Before Nightfall.
He was “a very original actor”, according to Anne Fontaine, the director of How I Killed My Father.
“Even though he looks very relaxed and smiling, there’s something about his acting that’s disconcerting, unsettling, that causes weirdness all the time,” she told The New York Times in 2002. .