Family & Companions
Iconic American-born actor and singer of international films from the 1950s. Born in L.A. to Russian immigrant parents, Constantine studied voice in Vienna. He returned to the USA where his singing career wavered and he found work as a film extra. Constantine first achieved fame in Paris where he launched a successful career as a popular singer under the tutelage of Edith Piaf. On screen from 1953, his tough guy manner was put to good use in French imitations of Bogart films, several of which featured Peter Cheyney's no-nonsense, hard-hitting private detective, Lemmy Caution. In 1965 Jean-Luc Godard appropriated both Constantine and the Caution character for "Alphaville," a futuristic, parodic homage to the detective genre. The tough guys the craggy-faced Constantine played were ideals derived from the already stylized and ritualized world of G-men and private eyes found in American movies. Filmmakers of the New German Cinema resurrected Constantine and his persona; notably Rainer Werner Fassbinder cast him as the laconic star of the film-within-the-film in "Beware of a Holy Whore" (1970). Constantine also appeared in a good number of German television dramas in the 70s and 80s and, late in life, reprised his most famous role in Godard's "Germany Year 90 Nine Zero" (1991).
Cast (Feature Film)
First starring film role
Starred as Lemmy Caution in Jean-Luc Godard's "Alphaville"
US publication of English-language translation of his novel, "La Propietaire/The Godplayer"
Appeared as Captain Michel Becaud in "Raid on Entebbe", an NBC docudrama directed by Irvin Kershner
Last American feature, Larry Cohen's "It's Alive 2"
Reprised the role of Lemmy Caution for Godard's "Germany Year 90 Nine Zero"