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Serge Reggiani

Serge Reggiani French singer and actor

French singer and actor
Serge Reggiani
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro French singer and actor
Was Actor Singer Painter
From France Italy
Type Arts Film, Television, Stage and Radio Music
Gender male
Birth 2 May 1922, Reggio Emilia, Province of Reggio Emilia, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
Death 23 July 2004, Paris, Île-de-France, France (aged 82 years)
Residence Reggio Emilia
Spouse: Noëlle AdamJanine DarceyAnnie Noël
Children: Stéphan ReggianiSimon Reggiani
The details


Serge Reggiani (2 May 1922 – 23 July 2004) was an Italian-born French singer and actor. He was born in Reggio Emilia, Italy and moved to France with his parents at the age of eight.

After studying acting at the Conservatoire des arts cinématographiques, he was discovered by Jean Cocteau and appeared in the wartime production of Les Parents terribles. He then left Paris to join the French Resistance.

His first feature film was Les portes de la nuit ("Gates of the Night"), released in 1946. He went on to perform in 80 films in total, including Casque d'or, Les Misérables (1958),Tutti a casa, Le Doulos, Il Gattopardo, La terrazza, The Pianist (1998).

Reggiani also triumphed in the theatre in 1959 with his performance in Jean-Paul Sartre’s play Les Séquestrés d'Altona. In 1961, Reggiani co-starred with Paul Newman and Sidney Poitier in the film Paris Blues filmed on location in Paris.

In 1965, at the age of 43, he began a second career as a singer, with the help of Simone Signoret and her husband Yves Montand, and later with the assistance of the French singer Barbara. Reggiani became one of the most acclaimed performers of French chanson and although he was in his 40s, his rugged image made him popular with both younger and older listeners. His best-known songs include Les loups sont entrés dans Paris ("The Wolves Have Entered Paris") and Sarah (La femme qui est dans mon lit) ("The Woman Who Is In My Bed"), the latter written by Georges Moustaki. He regularly sang songs by Boris Vian (Le Déserteur, Arthur où t'as mis le corps, La Java des bombes atomiques). His new young fans identified with his left-wing ideals and anti-militarism, most notably during the student revolts in France in 1968. With age he became more and more acclaimed as one of the best interpreters of the chanson, and also for bringing the poems of Rimbaud, Apollinaire and Prévert to new audiences.

From 1980, when his son died, Reggiani struggled with alcoholism and depression. In 1995, however, he made a comeback to singing, giving a few concerts despite his deteriorated health and personal distress, the last one being held as late as the spring of 2004.

In later life he became a painter and gave a number of exhibitions of his works.

Serge Reggiani died in Paris of a heart attack at the age of 82, one day after the death of another well-known French singer, Sacha Distel. He is buried in Montparnasse Cemetery.

Selected filmography

  • Night in December (1940)
  • Le Voyageur de la Toussaint (1943) … Bob Éloi
  • François Villon (1945) … François Villon
  • Gates of the Night (1946) … Guy Sénéchal
  • Star Without Light (1946)
  • Manon (1949) … Leon Lescaut
  • The Mystery of the Yellow Room (1949) … Joseph Rouletabille
  • Le Parfum de la dame en noir (1949) … Joseph Rouletabille
  • La Ronde (1950) … Franz the Soldier
  • Casque d'or (1952) … Georges Manda
  • Red Shirts (Anita Garibaldi, 1952) … Lantini
  • Secret People (1952) … Louis
  • The King and the Mockingbird (1952/1980) … The chimney sweep (voice)
  • The World Condemns Them (1953) … André
  • Act of Love (1953) … Claude Lacaud
  • Napoléon (1955) … Lucien Bonaparte
  • The Stowaway (1959) … Alfred Mougins
  • Marie-Octobre (1958) … Antoine Rougier
  • Everybody Go Home (1960) … Assunto Ceccarelli
  • Paris Blues (1961) … Michel "Gypsy" Devigne
  • Warriors Five (1962) … Libero
  • Le Doulos (1962) … Maurice Faugel
  • The Leopard (1963) … Ciccio Tumeo
  • The Last Adventure (1967) … The pilot
  • Il giorno della civetta (1968) … Parrinieddu
  • Army of Shadows (L'Armée des ombres, 1969) … The hairdresser
  • Comptes à rebours (fr) (1971) … François Nolan
  • Trois milliards sans ascenseur (1972) … Pierrot
  • Les Caïds (fr) (1972) … Thia
  • Vincent, François, Paul... et les autres (1974) … Paul
  • Le Chat et la souris (1975) ... Lechat
  • Let Sleeping Cops Lie (Ne réveillez pas un flic qui dort, 1988) … Le Stéphanois
  • There Were Days... and Moons (1990) … Sophie's father
  • I Hired a Contract Killer (1990) - Vic of Vic's French Burgers
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