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Also Known As: Fernand Joseph Desire Contandin Died: February 26, 1971
Born: May 8, 1903 Cause of Death: lung cancer
Birth Place: France Profession: actor, vaudevillian, singer, comedian, delivery boy, bank messenger, shipping clerk, bank teller, docker

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Popular, prolific long-faced French comedian with an enormous, horsey grin who, through the expressive use of his hands, homely face and voice, became one of the most beloved film stars in France and appeared, often as innocent peasant characters, in almost 150 films. Although he first gained screen popularity with a serious role in Bernard Deschamps's "Le Rosier de Madame Husson" (1932), Fernandel was best known for his numerous comic portrayals, especially as the title character, an irascible Italian village priest, in the "Don Camillo" series.

Popular, prolific long-faced French comedian with an enormous, horsey grin who, through the expressive use of his hands, homely face and voice, became one of the most beloved film stars in France and appeared, often as innocent peasant characters, in almost 150 films. Although he first gained screen popularity with a serious role in Bernard Deschamps's "Le Rosier de Madame Husson" (1932), Fernandel was best known for his numerous comic portrayals, especially as the title character, an irascible Italian village priest, in the "Don Camillo" series.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 My Wife's Husband (1965) Fernand Jouvin
3.
 The Most Wanted Man (1962) Joe Calvet
4.
 The Cow and I (1961) Charles Bailly
5.
 Caid, Le (1960)
6.
 Law Is the Law, The (1959) Ferdinand Pastorelli
7.
 Big Chief, The (1959)
8.
 Paris Holiday (1958) Fernydel
9.
 Virtuous Bigamist, The (1957) Paul Verdier
10.
 Man in the Raincoat, The (1957) Albert Constantin
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Worked as a bank teller, dock worker and clerk at father's wholesale grocery business while performing as an amateur comedian and cafe singer from the age of 10
1922:
Professional debut
1928:
Paris revue debut as comedy singer at Concert Mayol
1930:
Film acting debut, "Le Blanc et le Noir"
1932:
Breakthrough role in "Le Rosier de Madame Husson/Mrs. Husson's Rosebush"
:
Formed Gafer, production company, with Jean Gabin
1968:
Made a successful North American tour as a singer, culminating with a recital at Carnegie Hall
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Notes

His stage name "Fernandel" supposedly came from the nickname his wife's family gave him--"le Fernand d'Elle" (her Fernand)--when he was first courting her.

Member of the Legion of Honor, described in the citation as a "merchant of happiness".

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Henriette Manse. Married in 1926.

Family close complete family listing

son:
Franck Fernandel. Singer, disk-jockey.

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