Étaix, Pierre

Étaix, Pierre,

1928–2016, French film actor and director. He excelled at highly physical slapstick comedy, influenced by his background as a circus and cabaret performer, and by Buster KeatonKeaton, Buster
(Joseph Francis Keaton), 1895–1966, American movie actor, b. Piqua, Kans. Considered one of the greatest comic actors in film history, Keaton used his considerable acrobatic skills, which he had developed as a child in vaudeville, in many silent comedies in
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 and Charlie ChaplinChaplin, Charlie
(Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin), 1889–1977, English film actor, director, producer, writer, and composer, b. London. Chaplin began on the music-hall stage and then joined a pantomime troupe.
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. After working as an assistant to Jacques TatiTati, Jacques
, 1907–82, French film writer, director, and actor, b. Jacques Tatischeff. As a semiprofessional rugby player, he entertained his teammates with physical, nonverbal comedy, developing a series of mimes that he then performed in cabarets in London and Paris.
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 on the film Mon Oncle (1958), he and the writer Jean-Claude Carrière produced two short films, La Rupture (1961, Rupture) and Heureux Anniversaire (1962, Happy Anniversary; Academy Award). The pair then made two feature films, Le Soupirant (1963, The Suitor) and Yoyo (1965), considered his masterpiece. These were followed by Tant qu'on a la santé (1966, As Long as You've Got Your Health), Le Grand Amour (1969), and a documentary, Pays de Cocagne (1971, Land of Milk and Honey), which was a critical and commercial failure. Étaix and his wife founded France's first circus school (1974), and he later wrote a successful play, L'Âge de Monsieur est avancé (1985; adapted for television 1987).
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