|Birth name||Joseph Ira Dassin|
5 November 1938|
Brooklyn, New York, United States
|Origin||New York City|
|Died||20 August 1980
Papeete, Tahiti, French Polynesia
|Labels||Columbia (Canada, 1964–71)
CBS (elsewhere, and Canada since 1976)
RCA (Canada, 1972–76)
Dassin was born in New York city to American film director Jules Dassin (1911–2008) and Béatrice Launer (1913–2005), a New York-born violinist, who after graduating from a Hebrew High School in the Bronx studied with the British violinist Harold Berkely at the Juilliard School of Music. Both parents were Jewish. His father was of Ukrainian- and Polish-Jewish extraction, his maternal grandfather was an Austrian Jewish immigrant, who arrived in New York with his family at age 11.
Dassin studied at the International School of Geneva and the Institut Le Rosey in Switzerland, and graduated in Grenoble. Dassin moved back to the United States, where he attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan from 1957 to 1963, winning an undergraduate Hopwood Award for fiction in 1958 and earning a Bachelor of Arts in 1961 and a Master of Arts in 1963, both in Anthropology.
Moving to France, Dassin worked as a technician for his father and appeared as an actor in supporting roles in a number of movies directed by his father, including Topkapi, where he played the role of "Josef".
By the early 1970s, Dassin's songs were on the top of the charts in France and he had become immensely popular in that country. He was also a talented polyglot, recording songs in German, Spanish, Italian and Greek, as well as French and English. One of his most popular songs was "L'Été indien".
Dassin married Maryse Massiéra in Paris on 18 January 1966. Their son Joshua was born two and a half months early on 12 September 1973, and died five days later. Overcome by grief, Joe became deeply depressed. Despite all their efforts, their marriage did not survive. In 1977, one year after their move to their newly built home in Feucherolles, just outside Paris, they divorced.
On 14 January 1978, Dassin married Christine Delvaux in Cotignac. Their first son, Jonathan, was born on 14 September 1978; and their second son, Julien, arrived on 22 March 1980. Christine died in December 1995.
Dassin died from a heart attack during a vacation to Tahiti on 20 August 1980. In 2015, a French documentary revealed he was an alcoholic. He was survived by his two sons, both living in France, as well as his two younger sisters, Richelle (b. 1940) and Julie (b. 1945) and his parents Jules Dassin (1911–2008) and Béatrice Launer (1913–2005). His body is interred in the Beth Olam section of Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood, California.
- Béatrice Dassin. Genealogy Bank. Retrieved on 26 July 2015.
- The Juilliard School of Music, "The Baton", p. 12
- Interview with Béatrice Launer. Joedassin.info. April 2004.
- University of Michigan, List of Hopwood Award Winners.
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