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Is Netflix’s Class Act [Bernard Tapie] Based on a Real Person?


Welcome to a fascinating tour of the world of “Class Act” on Netflix and the fascinating character at its center, Bernard Tapie. We (tvacute) will delve into the intriguing relationship between this new Netflix series and Bernard Tapie’s real-life persona in this in-depth investigation. With Laurent Lafitte as this well-known and contentious French public figure, we begin a fictionalized biopic that provides a fresh look at Tapie’s remarkable life.

Is Bernard Tapie from the Netflix series Class Act based on a real person?

Although “Class Act,” a popular new Netflix series, explores Bernard Tapie’s life, is it actually based on a real person. The line between fact and fantasy is where the answer lies. The series calls itself a “fictionalized biopic” of Bernard Tapie, but it’s important to know what that actually means.

In essence, “Class Act” fictionalizes Bernard Tapie’s life narrative, a complex individual well-known for his work as a businessman, politician, actor, singer, and TV host. However, this artistic choice has caused criticism, especially given Tapie’s own reservations about the series.

Bernard Tapie opposed the series before he passed away in 2021, highlighting that it was made without his consent or knowledge. Dominique Tapie, his widow, reiterated his sentiments and emphasized that Laurent, not anybody else, should tell his narrative. The ethical and creative challenges of portraying the life of a public figure on TV are highlighted by this conflict of viewpoints.

The series’ star Laurent Lafitte, who plays Bernard Tapie, defended the endeavor, saying that French law allowed the recounting of a public figure’s life narrative without their consent as long as it avoids defamation. The fact that the series is framed as a biography with a strong subjective aspect, offering a distinct perspective on Tapie’s journey, raises questions regarding how best to honor his legacy.

Who is Bernard Tapie?

It is essential to delve deeply into the complicated tapestry of Bernard Tapie‘s life in order to fully appreciate the nuanced representation of him in “Class Act.” In 1943, Bernard Tapie was born in Paris into a family where his mother was a nurse and his father was a refrigeration engineer. His early professional route was by no means typical of the incredible road he would ultimately travel.

Tapie initially dabbled in the television industry, where he made a fortune by selling televisions. He did, however, perform as a crooner at night, showing off another side of his talent. Unbeknownst to the world, this seemingly routine beginning would eventually lead to an astonishing trip.

Bernard Tapie’s amazing capacity to save failing businesses and later sell them for substantial profits was one of the defining moments of his life. He became a corporate success thanks to this talent, and by the time he was 30, he had amassed a sizeable fortune.

Tapie married Michèle Layec in 1964, and the two had two children together: Nathalie and Stéphane. However, their marriage ultimately ended in divorce. Tapie explored many different fields in addition to his private life.

His interests also included the media sector, and he had a sizable ownership part in the newspaper “La Provence.” In addition, he dabbled in sports, owning the cycling team “La Vie Claire,” which won the Tour de France not once, not twice, but twice, in 1985 and 1986. Tapie also had an impact on football since, after acquiring Olympique de Marseille in 1986, he turned the club around from a struggling organization to a Champions League-winning squad.

Bernard Tapie began a new chapter in his personal life in 1987 when he wed Dominique Mialet-Damianos. Laurent and Sophie were their two children. Tapie did not, however, only succeed in the economic and athletic worlds.

In response to the political world’s request in the 1980s, Tapie was elected as an independent Member of Parliament in 1989. He later served in the administration of President François Mitterrand as the minister of urban affairs. With his re-election in 1993, he continued his political career, this time as a leader of the left-wing Mouvement des Radicaux de Gauche.

When Tapie sold his majority ownership in the sporting corporation Adidas to a group of private investors in 1993, it marked a turning point in business history. The necessity to prevent conflicts of interest with his rising political career played a role in this choice. Nevertheless, it was a choice that would result in a protracted court dispute.

Bernard Tapie charged Crédit Lyonnais bank for purposefully undervaluing Adidas after the business was sold for more than double its original price. He was given a €403 million damage and interest award in 2008, which would be paid out of general tax revenue. But in 2015, an appeals court mandated that Tapie pay back the money plus interest. There were many turns and turns in this judicial process over many years.

The entrance of Bernard Tapie into the European Parliament in 1994 was a pivotal moment in his political career. But eventually, he would have to give up football and politics due to legal issues. One such legal problem came up in 1995 when it was discovered that Tapie had given a rival football team, Valenciennes, a bribe to perform poorly in a league game. In order to prepare Olympique de Marseille for the Champions League final, this action was taken.

Due to this controversy, Tapie was given a two-year penalty, a three-year civic rights suspension, and eight months of non-suspended jail time. Even though he only completed a portion of his term, it acted as a turning point in his life that caused him to stop participating in football and politics.

Following these difficulties, Bernard Tapie once again remade himself, this time as an actor. He appeared on television in “Commissaire Valence,” graced the big screen in “Hommes, Femmes, Mode d’emploi,” and performed on stage in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” His ability to change direction artistically demonstrated his adaptability.

However, Tapie’s life remained overshadowed by legal disputes. He was found guilty of tax fraud twice, the first time in 1997, receiving a sentence of 18 months in prison with 12 months suspended, and the second time in 2005, receiving a sentence of three years in prison with 28 months suspended. Notably, these sentences were reduced by the eight months he had already spent, saving him from going back to jail.

In 2017, stomach cancer presented Bernard Tapie with yet another hard foe. He showed courage and resiliency despite the challenges. Tragically, he lost the fight against cancer in 2021, bringing to an end a magnificent and turbulent journey.


In summary, the Netflix series “Class Act” presents a distinctive viewpoint on the life of Bernard Tapie, a man whose journey was distinguished by a mixture of achievement, controversy, and reinvention. Tapie’s life is presented through a creative prism in the series, which is labeled as a “fictionalized biopic,” igniting discussions regarding the propriety of showing real-life individuals on television.

Bernard Tapie’s life experience, as depicted in “Class Act,” is evidence of how complex human existence is. Tapie’s life was a rollercoaster of ups and downs, from his modest beginnings as a television salesman and crooner to his spectacular rise in the economic, sports, and political spheres.

His legal fights, such as the Adidas case and the Valenciennes incident, complicated his story further. But his capacity for self-reinvention as an actor revealed his tenacity and adaptability.

In the end, Bernard Tapie’s legacy is one that inspires both awe and reflection. Although “Class Act” may only provide a subjective view of his life’s experiences, it is a fascinating starting place for learning more about a genuinely exceptional person. As viewers and fans watch the show, they are encouraged to consider the complexities of storytelling, morality, and the persistent appeal of real-life tragedies.

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