Pierre Étaix

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Pierre Étaix
Pierre Etaix 1.JPG
Pierre Étaix, 2011
Born (1928-11-23) 23 November 1928 (age 86)
Roanne, France
Occupation Actor, director, clown
Years active 1954–present
Spouse(s) Annie Violette Fratellini (1932–1997)

Pierre Étaix (French: [etɛks]; born 23 November 1928) is a French clown, comedian and filmmaker. Étaix made a series of acclaimed short- and feature-length films in the 1960s,[1] many of them co-written by influential screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière. He has won an Academy Award. Due to a legal dispute with a distribution company, these films were unavailable for a long period.[2] They have now been restored and are available again.[3]

As an actor, assistant director and gag writer, Étaix has worked with the likes of Jacques Tati, Robert Bresson, Nagisa Oshima, Otar Iosseliani and Jerry Lewis, who cast the comedian in his unreleased film The Day the Clown Cried.


Born and raised in Roanne, France, where he initially trained as a designer under Théodore-Gérard Hanssen, Pierre Étaix moved to Paris in 1954.[1] to work as an illustrator and cabaret performer [1] He met the filmmaker and clown Jacques Tati, and began to help Tati work on the project that later became Mon Oncle, on which Étaix served as assistant director. Two years later, Étaix made his first short films: Rupture and Heureux Anniversaire; the latter won Étaix an Academy Award for Best Short Subject.[1] The films also marked the first produced screenplays of Étaix's co-writer, Jean-Claude Carrière, who would go on to an acclaimed career as the favorite collaborator of Luis Buñuel's late period.

Étaix continued making films throughout the 1960s before resuming his career as a clown in 1971, when he joined the touring company of the Pinder Circus.[1] Since then he has authored several plays and books, including writing on film and clowning.[1]

Étaix was married to the Algerian-born clown and actress Annie Fratellini until her death in 1997.[4]


As director[edit]

As actor[edit]



The Criterion Collection released a box set of eight of the films by Pierre Étaix in DVD and Blu-ray format in April 2013.


External links[edit]