“When I was young, I wanted to be tall like her,” says Michel Jean about journalist Denise Bombardier

“When I was young, I wanted to be tall like her,” says Michel Jean, speaking of Denise Bombardier, the journalist and interviewer. The author and anchor remembers this “kind and generous” lady who died on Tuesday at the age of 82.

Archival photo provided by TVA

great interviewer

“This morning I was saddened to learn of his death. He’s someone I really liked. She was one of the greatest interviewers in Quebec, which people often forget, because it’s been a while since she did any more,” said Michel Jean in a telephone interview with The newspaper.

In addition to praising her talents as an interviewer, he underlines the generosity of Denise Bombardier. At the start of her career, she gave a long and positive radio review of her first book “Special Envoy” which dealt with the profession of journalist.

“It surprised me, because it was my first book. It meant a lot to me that a writer of her caliber liked my book. I had been touched and I had sent her a note to thank her,” he recalls.

Denise Bombardier had then invited him to her home to attend one of her famous Sunday evening dinners where famous people from various public spheres met. On the day of his visit, Monique Jérôme-Forget, Maman Dion and Paul Baillargeon were there.

When writing his first novel, Michel Jean had also asked him to read his manuscript (“I can’t believe I asked him that!”, he says), and the latter had summoned him not to send it to his publisher.

“Deep down, she was right. It was full of adverbs and phrases from someone who tries too hard to show off (laughs). I would have had the same reaction to the text today. We talked about it again when I saw her again and it was funny. She came to my next book launch with her husband, I was always happy to see her.”

It was also Denise Bombardier who had recommended that he find “a bigger agent” in France; advice he happily heeded.


The author of kukum also had a lot of respect for the writer that she was. He also considers her to be one of the first Quebec authors – along with Gabrielle Roy and Marie-Claire Blais – to have succeeded in establishing herself in France with both critical and popular success.

“I didn’t always agree with her ideas, but I often defended her when people attacked her, because beyond the commentary or the provocation, I saw the thinking person, the intelligence, the capacity of the author and the kindness in life,” he adds.

The anchor assures that Denise Bombardier had found the man of her life and the perfect match with her husband, James. “They were perfect complements,” he says.

Photo Joël Lemay / QMI Agency

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