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Coluche in The Wing or the Thigh
|Born||Michel Gérard Joseph Colucci
28 October 1944
|Died||19 June 1986
|Cause of death||Motorcycle crash|
Michel Gérard Joseph Colucci (28 October 1944 – 19 June 1986), better known as Coluche (French pronunciation: [kɔˈlyʃ]), was a French comedian and actor who was famous for his irreverent sense of humour.
Colucci adopted "Coluche" as a stage name at age 26, when he began his entertainment career. He became known for his irreverent attitude towards politics and the establishment, and he incorporated this into much of his material. He was one of the first major comedians to regularly use profanities as a source of humor on French television.
Youth and comic debut
Michel Gérard Joseph Colucci was born on 28 October 1944, weeks after the liberation of Paris, in a hospital in the 14th arrondissement of the city. His mother, Simone Bouyer (called "Nonette"), worked as a florist in the Boulevard Montparnasse. His father, Honorio Colucci, from Casalvieri in Lazio, Italy, was a painter and decorator. His father died in 1947 at age 31 from poliomyelitis; his wife struggled thereafter to raise the young Michel and his sister (Danièle, 18 months older than Michel) on a meager salary.
Coluche showed little promise at school, and left after completing his primary studies (June 1958). He tried various temporary jobs, and had several run-ins with authorities. During this time his mother bought him a guitar, which he taught himself to play. In 1964 he joined the 60th Infantry Regiment de Lons-le-Saunier, but was imprisoned for insubordination. On his return to civilian life, he worked in his mother's florist shop which she had been able to open on rue d'Aligre, and later in a larger shop which she opened near la Gare de Lyon. He found this work dull, and suddenly quit, which caused a long-lasting breach with his mother.
At the end of the 1960s he tried his luck as a singer in cafes, then turned to comedy.
In 1969, with Romain Bouteille he was present at the start of the Café de la Gare, meeting place of a group of young comedians practically all of whom were to become famous: Patrick Dewaere, Henri Guybet, Miou-Miou, Martin Lamotte, etc. Among the patrons of the Café de la Gare were Georges Moustaki, Raymond Devos, Jean Ferrat, Jacques Brel, Leni Escudero, Pierre Perret and Jean Yanne. Later they were joined by Gérard Lanvin, Renaud, Rufus, Diane Kurys, Coline Serreau, Anémone, Gérard Depardieu, Thierry Lhermitte, Josiane Balasko and Gérard Jugnot.
Coluche's first sketch C'est l'histoire d'un mec (It's the story of a guy) was about the difficulties of telling a funny story. He quickly found success, but alcohol problems forced him to leave the group.
He went on to found another group, Le vrai chic parisien (The truly chic Parisian) and it was at this time that he met his future wife, Véronique Kantor. They married in 1975 and had two sons, Marius and Romain Colucci. His behaviour and addictions forced him to leave the new group and launch his solo career.
It was at this point that he began to dress in his well-known outfit of white tennis shoes, blue striped overalls, a bright yellow T-shirt and round glasses. He became famous with his parody of a TV game (Le Schmilblick). He was sacked by two radio stations for vulgarity.
In a 30 October 1980 press conference at the theatre of his one-man show, Coluche announced his candidacy for the French presidential election. He was not taken seriously until the Sunday newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche published a poll on 14 December 1980 showing Coluche supported by 16% of potential voters. His "campaign" was supported and organized by Parisian publisher Charlie Hebdo, with slogans such as "Before me, France was divided in two; now it will be folded into fourths" (in French slang, "être plié en quatre" literally "to be folded into fourths" can be translated by "to roll on the floor laughing"), and "Coluche - the only candidate who has no reason to lie". However, he withdrew after pressure from serious politicians - including François Mitterrand who saw him as a menace for his own candidacy - and the murder of his manager René Gorlin.
Restaurants du Cœur
In September 1985, he launched the "Restaurants du Cœur" (usually called Restos du cœur) charity (40,000 volunteers in almost 2,500 eating establishments, which serve some 600,000 daily beneficiaries) in a speech on the radio station Europe 1. This famous speech begins "I have a little idea…" The charity collects food, money and clothes for the needy and the homeless. Each year, a fundraising concert series is presented by singers and celebrities collectively known as Les Enfoirés ("the bastards").
In September 1985 Coluche had set a world speed record (252.087 km/hr) on a one-km track with a 750cc motorcycle. Less than a year later, at 16:35 on 19 June 1986, Coluche died crashing his Honda 1100 VFC into a truck on a bend in a road in the commune of Opio, Alpes-Maritimes in southeastern France. He was 41. This event provoked national grief and inspired the album Putain de camion ("fucking truck") by his close friend Renaud. Some conspiracy theories have since surfaced, mainly in the book Coluche, l'accident: contre-enquête, alleging that Coluche might have been murdered.
The film Coluche : l'histoire d'un mec, directed by Antoine de Caunes and relating the events surrounding Coluche's bid for the French presidency in 1981 was released in France in October 2008. François-Xavier Demaison plays Coluche.
Coming from a working-class family and a background of grinding poverty, Coluche fought for the equality of citizens. A law known as the Loi Coluche was passed in 1988, allowing large tax deductions (up to 75% in some cases) for individuals or businesses that donate to specified aid agencies.
A rose is named for Coluche – it is on display in the rose garden of Tabor Park, Rennes.
There are statues of Coluche in his home quarter of Montrouge, and in Le Vigan, Gard in the south of France. Numerous theatres and social spaces are called after him all over France.
In October 2016, the Hôtel de ville de Paris (5, rue de Lobau) opened an exhibition marking the 30th anniversary of his death. It focuses on his radio and movie career up to his announcement of his presidential candidacy. It runs through 7 January 2017.
|1973||Themroc||the male neighbour||Claude Faraldo|
|L'An 01||the chief||Jacques Doillon
|1976||L'aile ou la cuisse||Gérard Duchemin||Claude Zidi|
|1977||Drôles de zèbres||the chef||Guy Lux|
|1980||Inspector Blunder||Michel Clément||Claude Zidi|
|1981||Le Maître d'école||Gérard Barbier||Claude Berri|
|1982||Deux heures moins le quart avant Jésus-Christ||Ben-Hur Marcel||Jean Yanne|
|1983||Banzaï||Michel Bernardin||Claude Zidi|
|My Best Friend's Girl||Micky||Bertrand Blier|
|So Long, Stooge||Lambert||Claude Berri|
|1984||Good King Dagobert||King Dagobert||Dino Risi|
|La vengeance du serpent à plumes||Loulou Dupin||Gérard Oury|
|1985||Sac de noeuds||Coyotte||Josiane Balasko|
|Madman at War||Oscar Pilli||Dino Risi|
- Beaucarnot, Jean-Louis; Dumoulin, Frédéric (2015). Dictionnaire étonnant des célébrités. Paris: Éditions First. ISBN 978-2-7540-7052-2. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
- 16% of voting intentions
- By Antoine Casubolo and Jean Depussé, éditions Privé, 2006
- Coluche - an accident?
- BELLACIAO - Un livre remet en cause la thèse de l’accident mortel de Coluche il y a juste 20 ans - SERGE BRESSAN
- Coluche - l'Histoire d'un Mec qui Vaut Bien une Expo, Le Monde, 6 October 2016
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