TamTam Books News

Friday, July 23, 2004:

French actor, singer Serge Reggiani dies at 82
PARIS, July 23 (AFP) - The French singer and actor Serge Reggiani died overnight of a heart atack at the age of 82, his agent said Friday.  

Born in Italy in 1922, Reggiani came to France with his parents at the age of eight, and after acting school was discovered by Jean Cocteau who gave him a role in his wartime theatrical production of "Les parents terribles."  

He moved into film with Marcel Carne's 1946 "Les portes de la nuit," and won his laurels with his interpretation of a hoodlum in love with Simone Signoret in Jacques Becker's "Casque d'Or." Over the next half century he appeared in some 80 films.    In 1965 he started a second career as a singer, with the help of Signoret and her husband Yves Montand.

His first album was of songs based on texts by the cult writer Boris Vian.   His next album in 1967 forged his reputation, and in the 1970s he was one of the most acclaimed performers of French "chanson." Though in his 40s, his craggy looks and bad-boy image assured him an enormous following among the young.  

Among the scores of sings he recorded, the most famous include "Sarah," "Les loups sont entres dans Paris," and "La femme qui est dans mon lit."   

Reggiani struggled with alcoholism for a long period and was gravely affected by the 1980 suicide of his 33-year-old son Stephan. In later life he turned to painting, and gave a number of exhibitions of his work.  

President Jacques Chirac led tributes Friday, saying that Reggiani "had a rare sensibility. He sang and embodied every emotion, every melancholy, every nostalgia."  

"Socialists remember that Serge Reggiani was part of, or even led, all the battles of the left. On many occasions he expressed his commitment to the cause that was closest to his heart: human dignity and, above all, liberty," the Socialist party said.  

His death came a day after that of another well-known French singer, Sacha Distel.   Georges Moustaki, a singer-songwriter who composed several works for Reggiani, said: "These two deaths of people so close to me leave me shattered. .... Serge was an exceptional catalyst. He knew how to get exactly what he wanted from you - great songs."


Tosh // 7:56 AM

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