Louis de Funès playing piano famous jazz pieces made such grimaces that many viewers present in the hall could not help laughing. This man having a short stature and rather mediocre appearance at first glance could become one of the greatest comedians of all the rich history of cinema. The characters of his films won the hearts of millions of fans.
Childhood and early life plans. The world-famous French actor was born in the far away Spanish city of Seville. His parents, to get married officially, were forced to move to France, because the relatives did not approve of the alliance. Louis Germain David de Funès de Galarza, that is how surname, name and patronymic of the beloved comedian sounds completely, was born only 10 years later. Portuguese and Spanish blood was mixed in him. The boy had a penchant for drawing, music, learned the new languages well. That passion for music then turned into a profession – playing the piano the future actor earned for many years. In one of the bars Louis playing jazz met his second wife. This beautiful woman gave two sons to the musician. The eldest of the brothers later became a pilot, but his father did not approve of his chosen profession.
During World War II, Louis decided to become an actor. He got on the dramatic courses under the guidance of the great master of his craft, Rene Simon. After their completion and receipt of the first small role the actor began to receive offers to play in other films. Not all the roles offered by directors Louis wanted to play, some had to be abandoned. He got the feel of each part he has chosen trying to make it as bright, fun and memorable experience for the viewer as possible.
Donald Duck of French origin. Debut film for the actor in 1945 was the film of director Jean Stelli «La Tentation de Barbizon» (“The Temptation of Barbizon”). The little man did not become popular after it. It happened only 13 years later when Louis got the role of poacher Blaireau in the film «Ni vu, ni connu» (“Neither seen, nor known”). After the release of the film the popular nickname of Donald Duck stuck to the novice actor.
It was that role that became a great chance for Louis and ma eaningful pass to the world of cinema. He started acting 3-4 films per year, and always played brilliant comedic characters. Moreover, the actor continued to chose not only in the main, but also the episodic characters – the main criterion for choice was his conformity to a particular character. Just take the role of the unequalled Commissioner Juve in the famous trilogy of André Hunebelle about Fantômas.
Later, the actor could be seen in the smashing hits «La Grande Vadrouille» (“The Great Stroll”) and «Le Corniaud» (“The Sucker”). But for the fans of his art he for many years has remained the vivid and memorable Commissioner Juve. His last film was «The Gendarme and the Gendarmettes» (“Le gendarme et les gendarmettes”) – after suffering several heart attacks Louis de Funès found the strength to give the admirers of his art on e more film with sparkling humour.
The soul of the comedy actor. One cannot call the life of the famous actor smooth, but he would not change it for any other. His path to a success was thorny. For many years he earned playing the piano by what he maintained his family. And then he himself paid for acting classes while continuing to keep his wife and children. He has not caught a star sickness, remained the same ordinary person as he was. He was always characterized by hard working, was happy with new roles and carefully worked on them.
In memory of fans Louis de Funès will always be funny and touching Commissioner Juve and gendarme. His films have become a classics of French cinema. The actor has been popular throughout his star career which not everyone can succeed. The most popular in the native country he became in the 70s. And in 1973 he received the highest award – the National Order of the Legion of Honour.
Talented in all. 1975 became difficult for the great French actor – he suffered two heart attacks at once that made it impossible to continue filming. Even after such health problems Louis did not despair and did not lose courage. He changed the city to a cosy suburb where he begun cultivating beautiful roses. And in this work new for him he also succeeded – one the varieties personally cultivated by him was named after him. His whole life flowed steadily at that time until the call of Claude Zidi pulled Louis from his routine rhythm of life. The director invited the famous comedian for the role in the film «L'aile ou la cuisse» (“The Wing or the Thigh”).
The film audience has enthusiastically received the return of their idol on the big screen. It was clear that in spite of the deep sadness appeared in his eyes the actor’s sparkling sense of humour has not disappeared anywhere. And on January 27, 1983 the famous comedian died. He came out of his own bedroom noting that he was so uncomfortable and lonely. After these words the actor’s life ended up – he had got a heart attack. The great Frenchman left a huge legacy in this world – three sons, a variety of bright orange roses and many memorable comic roles in films that forever entered the world cinema classics.
Born: 31 July 1914
Died: 27 January 1983 (aged 68)