Death of Jacques Martin, the host “of an appalling thinness” on his last days: “He was pitiful”

Sixteen years ago, Jacques Martin breathed his last after having marked several generations of viewers. On September 14, 2007, the presenter lost his long fight against widespread cancer, when he was 74 years old. He who had rubbed shoulders with the whole of France, made everyone laugh and vibrate, had decided to isolate himself, refusing that anyone see him in a state of weakness. He had first retired to his house, located in Neuilly-sur-Seine, in the Hauts-de-Seine, then had joined the hotel du Palacein Biarritz, where he lived these last moments.

Jacques Martin no longer wanted to see anyone, but he nevertheless received a visit from his great friend Pierre Bonte, about a month before he died. Faced with the refusal of his comrade, the journalist went, by surprise, to his home. “I think I’m one of the last to see ithe explains on the set of At Jordan’s. He didn’t want to see anyone anymore. Daniele Evenou [son ancienne compagne, NDLR.] told me: ‘He doesn’t want to take me on the phone anymore, he doesn’t want to talk to me anymore! He doesn’t want to see anyone anymore!’ I had her doctor on the phone and he had given her a month or two tops. I said to myself: ‘I still have to see him, I owe him so much.’

That’s why he didn’t want us to come and see him

Pierre Bonte had been part of the team of the Little Protractor thanks to Jacques Martin and he had remained very close to him since that time. When he arrived at his friend’s house, he experienced a real shock: suffering from cancer, the former animator moved around in a wheelchair, with the help of a nurse who pushed him, since he was returning from the hospital after a chemotherapy session. “I shared a lunch with him. It was in August he remembers. He hardly said a word during the entire meal. He was exhausted. Fortunately there are no photos of him at that time. He was terribly thin and just as pitifully weak. He was pitiful, really. That’s why he didn’t want us to come and see him. He did not want to leave this image. He never agreed to have his picture taken and didn’t want to see anyone anymore.”