Jean Baudrillard (1929–2007)

The French critic and provocateur Jean Baudrillard, whose theories about consumer culture and the manufactured nature of reality were intensely discussed both in rarefied philosophical circles and in blockbuster movies like The Matrix, died yesterday in Paris, reports Patricia Cohen for the New York Times. He was seventy-seven. Michel Delorme, director of Galilee, Baudrillard's publisher, announced his death, which he said followed a long illness. Baudrillard, the first in his family to attend a university, became a member of a small caste of celebrated and influential French intellectuals who achieved international fame despite the density and difficulty of their work. The author of more than fifty books and an accomplished photographer, Baudrillard ranged across different subjects, from race and gender to literature and art to 9/11.