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 Keaton and Charlie Chaplin. After working as an assistant to Jacques Tati 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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