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born Fernand Joseph Désiré CONTANDIN

French actor and singer

Source :  Luc ANTONINI

Born: on May 08, 1903 in Marseille, Bouches-du-Rhône, France
Died: on February 26, 1971 in Paris, France


Born in Marseille, France, Fernandel was a comedy star who first gained popularity in French vaudeville, operettas, and music-hall revues. His stage name was a corruption of "Mon Fernand d'elle" ("My daughter's Ferdinand"), his grandmother's invariable description of him, which the rest of the family soon picked up on.

In 1930, Fernandel appeared in his first motion picture and for more than forty years he would be France's top comic actor. He was perhaps best-loved for his portrayal of the irascible Italian village priest at war with the town's Communist mayor in the Don Camillo series of motion pictures. His horse-like teeth became part of his trademark.

He also appeared in Italian and American films. His first Hollywood motion picture was 1956's Around the World in Eighty Days in which he played David Niven's coachman. His popular performance in that film led to his starring with Bob Hope and Anita Ekberg in the 1958 comedy, Paris Holiday.

In addition to acting, Fernandel also directed or co-produced several of his own films.

Fernandel died from lung cancer and is buried in the Cimetière de Passy, Paris, France.

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See Also :

- Category Actor