Jean Gabin (1904 - 1976)

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Jean Gabin
Born May 17, 1904 in Paris, France
Died November 15, 1976 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, Hauts-de-Seine, France (heart attack)
Birth Name Jean-Alexis Moncorgé
Height 5' 8½" (1.74 m)
Mini Bio (2)
Jean-Alexis Moncorge started his career with 15 years at the theatre and debuted at the "Moulin Rouge" in Paris in 1929. Despite of his rude aspect he knew to be the gentleman of the French cinema in the time between the two World Wars. One of his most popular personalities was inspector Maigret. But he was also able to play all other kind of people: aristocrats, farmers, thieves and managers. He never stopped working and when death surprised him in 1976 he was still an institution for the French audience.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Volker Boehm
Gabin was born Jean-Alexis Moncorgé in Paris, the son of Madeleine Petit and Ferdinand Moncorgé, a cafe entertainer whose stage name was Gabin. He grew up in the village of Mériel in the Seine-et-Oise département, about 35 km north of Paris. The son of cabaret entertainers, he attended the Lycée Janson de Sailly. Leaving school early, he worked as a laborer until the age of 19 when he entered show business with a bit part in a Folies Bergères production. He continued performing in a variety of minor roles before going into the military. After completing his military service, Gabin returned to the entertainment business, working under the stage name of Jean Gabin at whatever was offered in the Parisian music halls and operettas, imitating the singing style of Maurice Chevalier, which was the rage at the time. He was part of a troupe that toured South America, and upon returning to France found work at the Moulin Rouge. His performances started getting noticed, and better stage roles came along that led to parts in two silent films in 1928. Two years later, he easily made the transition to talkies in a 1930 Pathé Frères production titled Chacun sa Chance. Playing secondary roles, Gabin made more than a dozen films over the next four years. However, he only gained real recognition for his performance in Maria Chapdelaine (1934), a 1934 production directed by Julien Duvivier. Cast as a romantic hero in a 1936 war drama titled La bandera (1935), this second Duvivier-directed film established Gabin as a major star. The following year, he teamed up with Duvivier again, this time in the highly successful Pépé le Moko (1937) ; its popularity brought Gabin international recognition. That same year, he starred in the Jean Renoir film La Grande Illusion (1937), an anti-war film that ran at a New York City theatre for an unprecedented six months. This was followed by another one of Renoir's major works: La Bête Humaine (1938), a film noir tragedy based on the novel by Émile Zola and starring Gabin and Simone Simon, as well as Port of Shadows (1938), one of director Marcel Carné's classics of poetic realism. He was divorced from his second wife in 1939. Flooded with offers from Hollywood, for a time Gabin turned them all down until the outbreak of World War II. After the German occupation of France in 1940, he joined Jean Renoir and Julien Duvivier in the United States. During his time in Hollywood, Gabin began a torrid romance with actress Marlene Dietrich which lasted until 1948. However, his films in America - Moontide (1942) and Strange Confession (1944), the later reuniting him with Duvivier - were not successful. Undaunted, Jean Gabin joined General Charles de Gaulle's Free French Forces and earned the Médaille militaire and a Croix de guerre for his wartime valor fighting with the Allies in North Africa. Following D-Day, Gabin was part of the military contingent that entered a liberated Paris. In 1946,Gabin was hired by Marcel Carné to star in the film, Gates of the Night (1946), but his conduct got him fired again. He then found a French producer and director willing to cast him and Marlene Dietrich together, but their film The Room Upstairs (1946) was not a success and their personal relationship soon ended. Following another box office failure in 1947, Gabin returned to the stage, but there too, the production was another financial disaster. Nevertheless, he was cast in the lead role of the 1949 René Clément film The Walls of Malapaga (1949) that won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Despite this recognition, the film did not do well at the French box office, and the next five years brought little more than repeated box office failures. Gabin's career seemed headed for oblivion. However, he made a comeback in the 1954 film, Touchez Pas au Grisbi (1954). Directed by Jacques Becker, his performance earned him critical acclaim, and the film was a very profitable international success. Later, he worked once again with Jean Renoir in French Cancan (1955), with María Félix and Françoise Arnoul. Gabin played Georges Simenon's detective Jules Maigret for three films in 1958, 1959 and 1963. Over the next twenty years, Gabin made close to 50 more films, most of them very successful commercially and critically, including many for Gafer Films, his production partnership with fellow actor Fernandel. His co-stars included leading figures of post-war cinema such as Brigitte Bardot, Alain Delon, Jean-Paul Belmondo and Louis de Funès. Gabin died of leukaemia at the American Hospital of Paris, in the Parisian suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine. His body was cremated and with full military honours, his ashes were scattered at sea from a military ship.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: wikipedia

Spouse (3)
Dominique Fournier (28 March 1949 - 15 November 1976) ( his death) ( 3 children)
Suzanne Mauchain (20 November 1933 - 18 January 1943) ( divorced)
Gaby Basset (26 February 1925 - 15 June 1931) ( divorced)
Trade Mark (2)
Often played men of authority on both sides of the law
His fiery temper, both on and off-screen
Trivia (14)
Father of Florence Moncorgé-Gabin, Valérie Moncorgé and Mathias Moncorgé.
After his death his body was cremated and his ashes were thrown overboard from the French naval ship "Détroyat".
He didn't want his daughter Florence to become an actress and tried in every way to prevent her from doing so. When she married a jockey against his will he didn't go to the wedding ceremony but sent a friend, Lino Ventura.
His second wife Jeanne Mouchine was a former chorus girl of the Casino de Paris. After their divorce he was ordered to pay her 60 million francs.
Male winner of 1953 Lemon Prize, awarded by French journalists to the nastiest French actors.
His parents, Ferdinand Moncorgé and Hélène Petit, were performers and singers in low-class shows.
Portrayed on a postage stamp issued on Oct. 3, 1998 by the French Post Office.
Grandfather of Jean-Paul Moncorgé and Alexis Moncorgé.
Was Sergio Leone's favorite actor.
Youngest of seven children.
Following the German occupation of France, he emigrated to Hollywood. At that time he began a romance with Marlene Dietrich and lived there until 1943.
In 1960 he was made an officer of France's Legion of Honor.
He enlisted in the 2nd Free French Armored Division and was eventually made a tank commander. He fought in France and in Germany until the end of the war.
Made his debut on stage as a variety singer.
Personal Quotes (2)
[about his debut in a stage show] I understood immediately that to get success I had to make for the front door, not for the back one. And the front door was the door of Mistinguett's dressing room.
I don't like watching love stories. Same old eternal triangle.

Jean Gabin Biography & Family History

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Birth


Paris, Paris County, Île-de-France France

Death

at American Hospital of Paris,
Neuilly-sur-Seine, Hauts-de-Seine County, Île-de-France France

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Military Service

Flooded with offers from Hollywood, for a time Gabin turned them all down until the outbreak of World War II. After the German occupation of France in 1940, he joined Jean Renoir and Julien Duvivier in the United States. During his time in Hollywood, Gabin began a torrid romance with actress Marlene Dietrich which lasted until 1948. However, his films in America - Moontide (1942) and Strange Confession (1944), the later reuniting him with Duvivier - were not successful. Undaunted, Jean Gabin joined General Charles de Gaulle's Free French Forces and earned the Médaille militaire and a Croix de guerre for his wartime valor fighting with the Allies in North Africa. Following D-Day, Gabin was part of the military contingent that entered a liberated Paris

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Male

Timeline

1904 - In the year that Jean Gabin was born, the "Teddy's Bear" was first produced. After seeing a political cartoon of President Teddy Roosevelt refusing to kill a clubbed and tied up bear, Jewish Russian immigrant Morris Michtom - who owned a candy shop and sold stuffed animals that he and his wife made at night at the store - made a "Teddy's Bear" and put it in his shop's window. The stuffed bears were an immediate success and Michtom and his wife went on to found the Ideal Novelty and Toy Co.

1915 - He was only 11 years old when Audrey Munson, playing a model for a sculptor in the film "Inspiration", became the first actress to shed her clothes on screen. Fearing that banning the film would mean that censors would also have to "ban Renaissance art" the film was released, with Munson in the nude scenes and a stand-in doing the acting. (Munson had previously been "America's First Supermodel" and posed nude as the model for many famous artworks.) The film was a hit with audiences.

1935 - Jean was 31 years old when on September 8th, Louisiana Senator Huey Long was shot by Dr. Carl Weiss. Weiss was shot and killed immediately by Long's bodyguards - Long died two days later from his injuries. Long had received many death threats previously, as well as threats against his family. He was a powerful and controversial figure in Louisiana politics (and probably gained power through multiple criminal acts). His opponents became frustrated with their attempts to oust him and Dr. Weiss was the son-in-law of one of those opponents. His funeral was attended by 200,000 mourners.

1966 - By the time he was 62 years old, on July 1st, Medicare became available after President Johnson signed into law the Medicare Act in 1965. President Truman had received the first Medicare card since he had been the first to propose national healthcare law. insurance.

1976 - In the year of Jean Gabin's passing, on August 4th, a mysterious illness struck an American Legion convention in Philadelphia. Within a week, 25 people had died and 130 people had been hospitalized. It was the first known instance of what came to be called "Legionnaires Disease."

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Obituary

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Jean Gabin, 72, French Film Star Who Played Hero‐Victim, Is Dead
By JOHN L. HESS NOV. 16, 1976
Jean Gabin, the craggy and sardonic nero‐victim of a hundred French films, died yesterday of a heart attack at the American Hospital in Neuilly, on the edge of Paris. He was 72 years old.
An actor since he was 18, at his death was as much a star as ever. One theater in Paris was showing a series of his triumphs under the heading “Gabin the Magnificent,” and a dinner was scheduled Friday, at which he was to have been promoted to commander of the Legion of Honor. It was canceled when he was admitted to the hospital Saturday, suffering from high blood pressure.
The quintessential Gabin role was that of a loner, an outsider, usually a member of the lower orders, who may flirt with love and happiness but knows they are not for him—like Jean Valjean in “Les Miserables,” or Marechal the mechanic soldier in “Grand Illusion,” or Pepe Le Moko, the title role in the film about a Parisian gangster in the Casbah of Algiers.
The American debut of “Pepe le Moko” was long delayed to permit Walter Wanger to make a Hollywood version in 1938, called “Algiers” and starring Charles Boyer and Hedy Lamarr. When “Pepe” opened in 1941, Bosley Crowther of The New York Times commented: “It is a raw‐edged, frank exposition of a basically evil story, whereas Mr. Wanger's version was a romantic and necessarily cautious retelling of the same.”
This may help explain why Mr. Gabin's brief wartime hitch in Hollywood yielded only a couple of soon forgotten roles, while critics have frequently found him perfectly cast in whatever French films he did. An actress once confided to a reporter:
“I thought I was the star in the first picture I made with Jean—until I saw the finished film. There was a scene in which he had no lines at all. He was just standing about while several of us were involved in a furious argument.
“Sitting there in the dark, I found suddenly that I wasn't listening to my words or to the words of the other actors. I wanted desperately to know why this Gabin was so quiet. His whole silence suggested that whatever he was not saying was so much more interesting than what was being shouted by the rest of us.”
Jean Renoir, who directed Mr. Gabin in “Grand Illusion,” “The Human Beast” and “French Can‐Can,” had paid tribute to the extraordinary range of the actor's abilities, and indeed he had been praised for roles ranging from hobo to tycoon. But to the French, he had been essentially working‐class, rough, brave, resourceful and pessimistic, and his official biographies emphasize his humble origins.
The former Jean‐Alexis Moncorge, the seventh child of two music‐hall performers, he was born in northeast Paris not far from Pigalle. He called himself the worst pupil in his class, a brawler, and an adolescent runaway, who worked as a cement mixer and factory laborer,
At the age of 18. however, he obtained a small part in the relies Bergere, through the intercession of his parents. For eight years, Mr. Cabin played the juvenile song‐and‐dance man on Paris stages. Then, in 1930, he was offered his first movie role, in “Chacun Sa Chance” (Everybody Gets One Break).
He was seldom idle thereafter, although, in his later years, he would several times declare his determination to retire. His first big hit was as a member of the Spanish Foreign Legion in “La Bandera”; Arthur Koestler has said that he himself was thinking of Jean Gabin when he joined the French Foreign Legion as a refugee from Naziism.
Mr. Gabin's stature as one of the great men of cinema was established in ensuing years by the Renoir films, and by “They Were Five,” “Pepe Le Moko,” “Les Miserables” and “Port of Shadows,” in which Michele Morgan co‐starred under the direction of Marcel Came. Other notable Gabin films included “Daybreak,” “The Walls of Malapaga” and “The Room Upstairs,” in which Marlene Dietrich was his romantic vis‐à‐vis.
When war came in 1939, Mr. Gabin joined the French navy as a seaman and served on a minesweeper in the English Channel until the fall of France two years later. Then he signed up with Hollywood, but quit after a year to re‐enlist with the Free French as a gunnery instructor and occasional performer.
Afterward, his career entered a pause. His hair had whitened, he had put on weight and he was evidently middle-aged. But the French, if not the English speaking public, took to him in the 1950's as a solid, aging figure, as the elderly lawyer lover of Brigitte Bardot in “Love Is My Profession,” as Inspector Maigret, as a gangster, a derelict or a tycoon, and as the partner‐victim of such other favorites as Bourvil, Fernandel, Belmondo and Alain Delon.
In private life as on the screen, Mr. Gabin became more solidly bourgeois, cherishing his privacy and expanding his farm in Normandy, where he raised trotting horses. The farm was vandalized in 1964 by peasants who were protesting the buying up of land by wealthy Parisians.
In a recent interview, Mr. Gabin complained about politicians, who he said were “bad actors and dangerous,” and tax collectors, who, he said, “take practically everything I own and oblige mo to work when I am past 70.” He was said to receive one million francs ($200,000) for each film, and made several a year.
He married three times: Gahy Basset in 1925, Jeann Mauchain in 1933 and Christiane Fournier in 1949, the present Mrs. Gabin. Surviving also are two sons and two daughters.
A funeral service is to be held tomorrow at Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. The body is to be cremated and the ashes scattered at sea, In a memorial tribute, French television scheduled programs of Gabin films.

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