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Death of Daniel Gélin


- One of France’s most celebrated acting talents dead at 81. His eclectic career spanned over 150 titles with film legends like Ophuls, Malle, Chabrol, Cocteau and Hitchcock

Death of Daniel Gélin

Daniel Gélin died this morning in a Paris hospital. He was 81. The French actor was a leading light in Gallic theatre and cinema and first came to public attention in 1949 with Rendez-vous de juillet directed by Jean Becker. Gélin was born in 1921 in Angers and in the course of his long and illustrious career made over 150 films. His was an eclectic talent and he often worked outside of France, especially in Italy, where his most celebrated film was Luigi Zampa’s La Romana opposite Gina Lollobrigida, and America where Alfred Hitchcock gave Gélin the starring role in his 1956 feature, The Man Who Knew Too Much.
Gélin’s interpretation of Napoléon in Sacha Guitry’s 1954 film has gone down in film history, but his stage work was no less remarkable. He acted in plays by authors as different as Molière and Simenon. Gélin worked with some of the film world’s authentic Giants including Max Ophuls with whom he made La Ronde and Le Plaisir; Jean Cocteau on Le testament d’Orphée (1960); Costa-Gavras in Compartiment tueurs (1965); Claude Chabrol in La Ligne de démarcation (1966) and Louis Malle’s Le Souffle au coeur (1971). Gélin also published a number of volumes of poetry and his autobiography. He spent his last years serenely in Paris and whenever he was reminded of his turbulent past, he would say, “I’d never have become so wise if I hadn’t gone slightly crazy earlier.”

(Translated from Italian)

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