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Laurent Terzieff was the son of a plastician and of Jean Terzieff, a Russian sculptor who emigrated to France during the First World War. The original surname of his family was Russian: ЧемерзинČemerzin As an adolescent, he was fascinated with philosophy and poetry. He assisted with a representation of the "La Sonate des spectres" by Strindberg, directed by Roger Blin; while involved in the theater he decided he wanted to become an actor.
Terzieff made his debut in 1953 with the Theatre of Babylon of Jean-Marie Serreau in Tous contre tous of Adamov. After several more roles, Marcel Carné offered him a lead role in 1958's Tricheurs, a tale about existentialist youth. He then appeared in the late works of "French quality" scenario writers such as Claude Autant-Lara, with whom he appeared in three films including Tu ne tueras point in 1961. Other collaborators included Henri-Georges Clouzot with "La Prisonnière", in which he interprets an artist manipulator. In 1975 Terzieff played the leading role as the priest in the Irish artist Reginald Gray's production and direction of "Jeu". Pascale de Boysson, Dirk Kinnane and Bibi Hure were also in the cast.
Other film appearances include A cœur joie, in which he appeared with Brigitte Bardot, Les Garcons by Mauro Bolognini in 1959, Vanina Vanini, Desert of the Tartars, and Medea. In the 1980s, he primarily acted on stage. Appearances during this era include Rouge Baiser, Germinal in 1993, and The Raft of the Medusa in 1998. In 2005, he appeared in Mon petit doigt m'a dit. Terzieff died on July 2, 2010, due to lung complications.