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Robert Lynen (24 May 1920–1 April 1944) was a French actor. A child star of French cinema, he joined the French Resistance during his country's occupation during World War II, was arrested and deported to Germany before been shot by a firing squad after repeated escape attempts.
Lynen was born on 24 May 1920 in Nermier and spent the first years of his life in his native Jura, where his parents raised animals. In 1923, his family moved to Paris where his father became a draftsman. Being from an artistic family (his mother was a singer and pianist), he was noticed at age 12 by filmmaker Julien Duvivier while he was studying at the École du Spectacle. After some tests, he was hired for the lead role of Poil de carotte (1932) with Harry Baur.
Following the film's public success, Lynen became the child star of French cinema. He was to be featured in four more movies: The Little King (1933); La belle équipe (1936); L'Homme du jour (1936) and Un carnet de bal (1937). Then he was Rémi in the 1934 film adaptation of Hector Malot's novel, Sans Famille. In 1937, he acted in Robert Siodmak's movie Mollenard, then in Le Fraudeur by Léopold Simons. At age 18, he played Alphonse Daudet's Le Petit Chose for Maurice Cloche, then La vie est magnifique with the same filmmaker.
World War II
In 1940, he acted, at age 20, in Espoirs by Willy Rozier, before being sent to a Vichy-sponsored youth camp, where he joined the French Resistance, becoming a second lieutenant in the French Forces network Alliance. In 1941, he went on a theater tour and acted in his last film Cap au large by Jean-Paul Paulin. He performed many missions before being arrested by the Gestapo in Cassis, on 7 February 1943. He was tortured and deported to Germany. After several months in prison and two escape attempts, he was sentenced to death by a military tribunal and executed, with 14 other Resistance members, on 1 April 1944 in the fortress of Karlsruhe, at the age of 23. When his body, which had been buried in a common grave, was repatriated to France in 1947, it was reburied in the military section of the Gentilly cemetery.
- 1942 : Cap au large as Zizou
- 1941 : Espoirs as Pierre Martin
- 1938 : Éducation de prince as le prince Sacha
- 1938 : Le Petit Chose as Daniel Eyssette
- 1938 : Mollenard as Jean Mollenard
- 1938 : La vie est magnifique
- 1937 : Un carnet de bal as Jacques Dambreval
- 1937 : L'Homme du jour as Milo
- 1937 : Le Fraudeur as Théo
- 1936 : La Belle Équipe as René
- 1934 : Sans famille as Rémy
- 1933 : Le Petit Roi as Michel VIII
- 1932 : Poil de carotte as Poil de carotte