From little Simards to young people today

From little Simards to young people today


There are many child stars in Quebec. Proportionally, perhaps more than anywhere in the world.

It is that in Quebec, the “star system” is still working at full capacity. Radio, television and newspapers first tell us about local artists before focusing on those who are making a career in Hollywood or Paris. On Saturday, our Weekend section presented eight young Quebecers who are stars of the small screen and of cinema even before reaching adolescence. Among them, Alexi Robidoux and Juliette Bourson, who are respectively eight and seven years old.

That's how old little Simard, René and Nathalie were when they became famous singing the virtues of Laura Secord puddings on television. All Quebecers over 60 remember the words and the melody of this ritornello that we owe to my late friend Marcel Lefebvre.

As most older Quebecers remember the “pop-sac-à-vie-sau-sec-fi-co-pin” of little Marie-Josée Taillefer, now the wife of René Simard. It was she who announced the various services of the Caisses Populaires Desjardins. She was seven years old, but she had started around the age of three to decline this funny slogan devised by Jacques Bouchard, the most gifted publicist of his time. I remember very well the work that had to be done with the little one so that she could master the words of this slogan that was almost impossible to say. It was my wife at the time, Aimée Danis, who produced the Caisses Desjardins ads.


It was then that I realized how difficult it is to work with such young children. It is indeed a job, but it has to pass for a game. As Aimée had a baccalaureate in pedagogy, she succeeded wonderfully with children. In Montreal, there was Madame Audet and a few other diction teachers who showed children how to “bead” well, but there was no child “coach” and no specialized casting house. It must be said that no child and no teenager then dreamed of becoming an actor. It never occurred to any of them.

Today, children are legion to see themselves as actress or actor. It must be said that the attitude of the entertainment world towards them has changed a lot. Young producers and directors have understood the irresistible attraction children have for viewers. Whether it's on TV, in the cinema or in the theatre.


It's a lot to arouse interest in my series that I created the roles of Zoé (Marie-Soleil Tougas) and Renaud (Sébastien Tougas) in Banana Skinat VAT. We were very lucky to find the young Sébastien Tougas and, above all, his sister Marie-Soleil to interpret them. Following the series, Marie-Soleil became the idol of all of Quebec, and her tragic death in a plane crash on August 10, 1997 sparked true national mourning.

Si Marie -Soleil was such an exceptional star, because she went well beyond her role as an actress. In addition to hosting shows like Fort Boyard and Les Débrouillards, she is socially involved as spokesperson for Opération Enfant Soleil and host of the annual telethon, not to mention the awareness campaigns it has led, notably with Éduc'alcool. Hardworking like no other, Marie-Soleil was an authentic model for the teenagers of her time.

Who of the eight young people in the last Weekend book will become a star of the caliber of Marie-Soleil or little Simard? ?

From little Simards to young people today