Sophie Toscan du Plantier Husband: Who Is Daniel Toscan du Plantier and What Happened to Him?

Sophie: A Murder West Cork is streaming on Netflix now and true-crime enthusiasts will undoubtedly be hooked on the gripping three-part series that explores the unsolved murder of Sophie Toscan du Plantier.

Sophie Toscan du Plantier, 39, was found murdered at her holiday home in Schull, West Cork, Ireland, on December 23, 1996.

Ian Bailey has been the only suspect in Sophie Toscan du Plantier's death. He has successfully resisted three extradition requests to face questioning and trial in France, and continues to deny any involvement in her murder.

A French court ruled in February 2019, there were "sufficient grounds" for Bailey to face trial in absentia, and on May 21, 2019, he was convicted of murder by the Cour d'Assises de Paris (Criminal Trial Court) and sentenced to 25 years in prison.

However, Bailey has never spent any time behind bars.

There have been no other suspects in Sophie Toscan du Plantier's death and the case remains at an unusual stalemate.

At the time of her death, Sophie Toscan du Plantier had been staying at her holiday home in Schull, Ireland, for a short break.

She arrived in Cork on December 20, 1996, intending to return to her home in Paris that she shared with her husband, Daniel Toscan du Plantier, to spend Christmas with the family.

Sophie and Daniel Toscan du Plantier
Sophie and Daniel Toscan du Plantier. Netflix

Who is Sophie Toscan du Plantier's husband, Daniel Toscan du Plantier?

Daniel Toscan du Plantier was a French film producer from Chambéry, France.

He died on February 11, 2003, aged 61, of a heart attack in Berlin. His death came 16 years before Ian Bailey was convicted of Sophie Toscan du Plantier's murder in May 2019.

Daniel Toscan du Plantier was a prominent figure in French society. He was the director of one of France's biggest film studios and was closely affiliated with Jacques Chirac, the former president of France.

As heard in the Netflix documentary, Sophie: A Murder in West Cork, Sophie Toscan du Plantier's husband was considered to be a public figure in France, which contrasted with his wife's desire to stay out of the spotlight.

Daniel Toscan du Plantier was educated at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques. He went on to become the advertising manager for the France Soir newspaper, before moving into film.

Between 1975 and 1985, Daniel Toscan du Plantier was the director-general of the Gaumont Film Company, a major French film studio.

He then became the head of Erato Films from 1985 until 1988.

He was also the president of UniFrance, an organization for promoting French films, from 1988 until he died in 2003.

During his career, Daniel Toscan du Plantier provided financial backing for movies such as The Ship Sails On, Casanova, and Akira Kurosawa's Ran.

He also worked closely with French film director Maurice Pialat, whose works include Van Gogh and Sous le Soleil de Satan.

Following his wife's death, members of Sophie Toscan du Plantier's family recalled in Sophie: A Murder in West Cork that he did not fly to Cork to identify her body.

He did issue a statement to French Police Commandant Jean Louis Chaumet, describing his wife as "very dynamic."

He also revealed he heard of his wife's death from a news bulletin on television on December 23, 1996.

Daniel Toscan du Plantier said: "In effect, she was more than a tough character, with a strict moral code, who feared nothing.

"She rather avoided the world of society and gossip and preferred the chic and popular quarters where she felt more at ease.

"She was passionate about African art and had produced a program on African bondage, which was transmitted at the beginning of December 1996."

Daniel Toscan du Plantier continued: "In the case of an altercation, Sophie had such a temperament that she could fly into a rage and was not the type to offer no resistance.

"Equally, and in the same vein, I'm saying, that because of her character, my wife would not hide from any noise outside, but would rather go out to investigate. I had been able to verify that several times."

He concluded: "I have absolutely no idea as to the perpetrator of the crime and do not see any possible motive for such an act, other than it being an act of violence."

In 1998, Daniel Toscan du Plantier remarried. His fourth marriage was to Melita Nikolic and they had one son and one daughter together.

His first marriage was to French actress Marie-Christine Barrault. They had two children together.

He then married Italian film director and producer Francesca Comencini and together they had one son.

In 1991 he married Sophie Toscan du Plantier. They had no children together but Sophie Toscan du Plantier had a son, Pierre, from her previous marriage.

Speaking on the podcast, Screentime, ahead of the Sophie: A Murder in West Cork release, producer Sarah Lambert reflected on Sophie and Daniel Toscan du Plantier's marriage.

She said: "There's a moment in one of the episodes in which one of the characters who knew of Sophie talks about how in true-crime, the murdered woman becomes an absolute cliche, blonde, beautiful.

"She had a turbulent marriage, some pretty turbulent relationships in the past, and there's this contradiction in her between married to a very big French film producer...and being in the limelight but wanting this solitude and being in love with this cottage in West Cork."

Sophie: A Murder in West Cork is streaming on Netflix now.