Reggiani, Serge


Reggiani, Serge
(1922-2004)
   Actor. Serge Reggiani was born in Reggio Emilia, Italy. His parents fled the fascist regime and migrated to France in the early 1930s. He studied at the Conservatoire des arts cinématographiques and the Conservatoire d'art dramatique in Paris. One of Reggiani's early significant stage roles was under the direction of Jean Cocteau in his play Les Enfants terribles. Reggiani first appeared onscreen in an uncredited role in Les Disparus de Saint-Agil (1938), directed by Christian-Jaque. He later acted in Louis Daquin's Le Voyageur de la Toussaint (1942), Léo Joannon's Le
   Carrefour des enfants perdus (1944), Marcel Blistene's Etoile sans lumière (1945), and André Zwoboda's François Villon (1945). His breakthrough role arrived in 1946 with Marcel Carné's Les Portes de la nuit. His popularity rose with his performances in Henri-Georges Clouzot's Manon (1949), André Cayatte's Les Amants de Vérone (1949), Max Ophuls's La Ronde (1950), and especially in Jacques Becker's Casque d'or (1951).
   Reggiani engaged in parallel careers in French and Italian cinemas. He costarred with Jean-Paul Belmondo in Jean-Pierre Melville's Le Doulos (1962) and further developed his film career in Luigi Comencini's Tutti a casa (1960), Luchino Visconti's Il Gattopardo (1963), Gérard Calderon's Le Bestiaire d'amour (1963), Robert Enrico's Les Aventuriers (1966), and Melville's L'Armée des ombres (1969).
   Also in the 1960s, Reggiani developed a very successful singing career. He released his first album in 1965 and another in 1967, which was a large success. In addition, he acted in the theater, receiving accolades for his principal role in Jean-Paul Sartre's play Les séquestrés d'Altona. In the 1970s, Reggiani continued to balance his music and film careers. He starred in Enrico's Les Caïds (1972), Claude Sautet's Vincent, François, Paul et les autres (1974), and Claude Lelouch's Le Chat et la souris (1975). He acted with fellow singer-actor Jacques Dutronc in Lelouch's Le Bon et les méchants (1975). Soon after, he starred with Dutronc and Isabelle Adjani in Jacques Ruffio's Violette et François (1977).
   In 1980, Reggiani appeared in Ettore Scola's La Terrazza (1980). That same year, he suffered as a result of the suicide of his son Stéphan. After a few years, he returned to the screen in a number of European features, such as Theo Angelopoulos's O Melissokomos (1986), Léos Carax's Mauvais sang (1986), and Lelouch's Il y a des jours . . . et des lunes (1989). He also became a painter and continued to record songs. The following decade he acted in Josée Dayan's Plein fer (1990), Aki Kaurismâki's I Hired a Contract Killer (1991), Pierre Granier-Deferre's Le Petit garçon (1993), and Mario Gas's Le Pianiste (1997). His starred for his son, director Simon Reggiani, in the short Zani (1991) and the feature De force avec d'autres (1992). This beloved actor's last appearance on the big screen was in 1997 in Gérard Krawczyk's Héroïnes.

Historical Dictionary of French Cinema. . 2007.

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