Fernand Joseph Désiré Contandin (8 May 1903 – 26 February 1971), better known as Fernandel, was a French actor and singer. Born in Marseille, France, to Désirée Bedouin and Denis Contandin, originating in Perosa Argentina, an Occitan town located in the province of Turin. He was a comedy star who first gained popularity in French vaudeville, operettas, and music-hall revues. His stage name originated from his marriage to Henriette Manse, the sister of his best friend and frequent cinematic collaborator Jean Manse. So attentive was he to his wife that his mother-in-law amusingly referred to him as Fernand d'elle ("Fernand of her").
In 1930, Fernandel appeared in his first motion picture and for more than forty years he would be France's top comic actor. He was perhaps best loved for his portrayal of the irascible Italian village priest at war with the town's Communist mayor in the Don Camillo series of motion pictures. His horse-like teeth became part of his trademark.
He also appeared in Italian and American films. His first Hollywood motion picture was 1956's Around the World in 80 Days in which he played David Niven's coachman. His popular performance in that film led to his starring with Bob Hope and Anita Ekberg in the 1958 comedy Paris Holiday.
In addition to acting, Fernandel also directed or co-produced several of his own films. His profile was raised in Britain by the 60s TV advertisements for Dubonnet in which he would say "Do 'Ave A Dubonnet"
He had two daughters, Josette (1926) and Janine (1930), and son Franck (1935). His son, known as Franck Fernandel, became an actor and a singer. Franck acted alongside his father in two films, Gilles Grangier's L'Âge ingrat and Georges Bianchi's En avant la musique.
- "Félicie aussi" (1939)
- "Le borgate". http://www.comune.perosaargentina.to.it/ (in Italian). Comune di Perosa Argentina. 28 December 2009. Retrieved 11 June 2015. External link in
- Fernandel 1903–1971 (biography). French Film Guide.
- Dayna Oscherwitz; MaryEllen Higgins (2009). The A to Z of French Cinema. Scarecrow Press. pp. 162–. ISBN 978-0-8108-7038-3.
- "Décès de Franck Fernandel : Une vie dans l'ombre gigantesque de son père..." (in French). Purepeople. 8 June 2011. Retrieved 6 March 2017.
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