The Man for the Job
He made us laugh, moved us to tears, and made us think more than once. Everyone in Québec knows about his story and fight against alcoholism. Today he’s both a role-model and a source of inspiration to everyone dealing with and wanting to overcome their addictions. He is our quiet source of strength that brings us all together in a common action.
Everything Began With a First Binge
Starting in 1960, he begins binging with alcohol following each performance to deal with the hardships of touring. He then quickly becomes unable to control his drinking. In 1962, he attends his first Alcoholic Anonymous meeting. Two years later, he relapses again.
Alcohol Breaks Up the Jérolas
His songwriting duo with Jérôme Lemay begins losing momentum in 1968 after a highly successful period. As he suffers from more and more relapses, the consequences of his alcohol addiction are even more disastrous: fights in clubs, arrests, hospitalizations… At the time, nobody understands that he suffers from a disease.
In May 1974, he begins to drink before a performance and then wakes up at the Saint-Luc hospital. At the end of his rope, he decides to check himself in at the Beaver Centre, a facility providing treatment for alcoholism, for a six-week stay. This is the end of the Jérolas but the beginning of his sobriety.
La Maison Querbes Becomes La Maison Jean Lapointe
One day, at the request of two Alcoholic Anonymous members, he agrees to help set up a small treatment centre on Querbes Street in Montréal. In 1982, at the top of his career, Jean Lapointe agrees with his family’s consent to lend his name to the treatment centre that has just moved to Old Montréal. La Maison Querbes will now be known as La Maison Jean Lapointe.
A Foundation Is Created to Ensure the Organization’s Survival
In 1982, the Maison Jean Lapointe faces promotion and funding problems.
Survival is difficult and the facility struggles to fully develop. The Fondation Jean Lapointe is thus created to help fund La Maison and promote its presence in all of Québec. This new adventure brings about the Téléthon Jean Lapointe, les Centres Jean Lapointe pour adolescents and countless other projects and initiatives that have been supported by the Fondation for the past 35 years.
Québec’s Great « One-Man Band »
Audiences love him, critics like his work, and he holds a place of honour in the francophone cultural space. Jean Lapointe has been, at one time or another, singer, composer, actor, comic, comedian, and even a Canadian senator.
In 1995, Québec City awards him the « Great Quebecer of the Year » title. On June 13th 2001, Canada’s Prime Minister Jean Chretien nominates him to Canada’s senate. He will keep this function until his retirement on December 6th, 2010.
He is awarded several awards in the year 2005, including a Genie, the Jutra for Best Actor as well as a special prize for the whole of his career. He is also honoured by the Gala Juste pour rire and the Gala Les Olivier.
In 2011, he receives the Best Supporting Actor Jutra for his performance in Robert Aubin’s À l’origine d’un cri and a Jutra-Hommage for his whole career during the 13th annual Jutra Awards.