Léon Zitrone

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Léon Zitrone
Claude Fayard 7.jpg
Léon Zitrone (left)
Born(1914-11-25)25 November 1914
Died25 November 1995(1995-11-25) (aged 81)
EducationÉcole supérieure de journalisme de Paris
OccupationTelevision journalist

Léon Zitrone (25 November 1914 – 25 November 1995) was a Russian-born French journalist and television presenter.


Zitrone was born in Petrograd, Russia. He arrived in France with his family fleeing communism at the age of six. He graduated from the ESJ Paris. He began by training in scientific studies but his mastership of Russian, French, English and German gave him entrance in 1948 to the radio foreign broadcasting services of Radiodiffusion-Télévision Française (RTF). In 1959, he joined the television activity of RTF. From 1961, he became news presenter, function he occupied for nearly 20 years, first until 1975, on the first French television channel (now TF1), then also on Antenne 2, the other public service channel. Jean-Pierre Elkabbach called him back in 1979. He then took charge of the news program during the week-end (his contract was established until 1 February 1981). He would come back for those news programs also during the Easter and Pentecost week-ends.

But Léon Zitrone's celebrity is due to the programs he presented or co-presented. He was host of the televised program Intervilles (French counterpart of Britain's It's a Knockout) with Guy Lux. He commented 6 times the Tour de France, and he is remembered for his prodigious memory for names of riders. He presented the Olympics for 8 times, commented the Eurovision Song Contest on 4 occasions and presented 16 Bastille Day military parades. Above all, he was the key-commenter for big events, such as weddings, burials or investitures of world's key figures, some thirty of them during the course of his career.[2]

In 1978, following French singer Marie Myriam's victory the previous year, the Eurovision song contest took place in Paris. Léon Zitrone co-presented with Denise Fabre and made the presentation in English.[3]

In 1984, Zitrone took a leading role in the movie American Dreamer.


He died from a cerebral hemorrhage on his 81st birthday, 25 November 1995, at the Val-de-Grâce hospital in Paris, a few years after the Dissolution of the Soviet Union.[1]


Year Title Role Notes
1959 Rue des prairies Himself / En personne
1961 Leon Garros ishchet druga Léon Garros
1961 Three Faces of Sin En personne / Himself
1961 The President Himself Uncredited
1961 Cocagne Himself
1962 The Gentleman from Epsom En personne / Himself Uncredited
1962 Portrait-robot Himself
1963 The Bamboo Stroke
1963 Méfiez-vous, mesdames Himself
1964 Dandelions by the Roots Himself / La voix commentaire du tiercé Voice, Uncredited
1965 Train d'enfer Himself
1966 Le caïd de Champignol Himself
1966 Un garçon, une fille. Le dix-septième ciel Himself Voice, Uncredited
1967 Live for Life Le présentateur télé
1968 Pasha Himself / En personne (commentateur hippique) Uncredited
1968 Ho! Himself / En personne Uncredited
1969 Les gros malins
1969 Trois hommes sur un cheval Un turfiste Uncredited
1971 Macédoine Zitrone Uncredited
1972 Les intrus Le journaliste
1974 Mariage Lui-même
1975 Bons Baisers de Hong Kong Espion français
1976 L'Année sainte Récitant TV Voice, Uncredited
1977 Drôles de zèbres Le commentateur hippique
1978 Et vive la liberté! Himself
1980 The Umbrella Coup Le commentateur de la soirée Voice
1980 La Boum Himself
1982 Deux heures moins le quart avant Jésus-Christ
1983 Les Mots pour le dire Le présentateur émission TV Uncredited
1984 American Dreamer Ivan Stranauvlitch
1985 Le mariage du siècle commentateur Voice, (final film role)


  1. ^ a b Profile, lefigaro.fr, 17 October 2012; accessed 24 August 2015.
  2. ^ « École de journalisme de Paris » Archived 2014-09-11 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Histoire de l'ESJ Paris Archived 2014-06-06 at archive.today

See also[edit]

Preceded by Eurovision Song Contest presenter
(with Denise Fabre)
Succeeded by
Israel Daniel Pe'er and Yardena Arazi