Pierre Lacotte, the French dancer who assisted Rudolf Nureyev in defecting, has died.
Pierre Lacotte, a French ballet choreographer who assisted superstar Rudolf Nureyev in fleeing the Soviet Union, died at the age of 91.
“Our Pierre left us at 4:00 a.m.,” Ghislaine Thesmar, a retired principal dancer, said.
In 1961, Lacotte assisted Nureyev in evading KGB agents in Paris and seeking asylum at the city’s Le Bourget airport.
His role in the famous defection was recounted in Ralph Fiennes’ 2018 biopic The White Crow.
Ms Thesmar stated that her husband died after a cut became infected.
Lacotte began his career as a teenager at the Paris Opera Ballet and later focused on the revival of forgotten 19th-century productions.
While on tour in Paris in 1961, he became friends with Nureyev. In 2012, Lacotte told the BBC that he took Nureyev on several tours of the city’s restaurants, bars, and museums.
This infuriated the KGB agents on the trip, and Nureyev was told he would be sent home. Nureyev believed he would be barred from leaving the country again.
Nureyev begged Lacotte not to abandon him at the airport, but he was surrounded by KGB agents.
Lacotte asked the agents if he and his friend, socialite Clara Saint, could say their goodbyes before he left.