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Last Updated: Friday, 21 July 2006, 08:45 GMT 09:45 UK
French film-maker Oury dies at 87
Gerard Oury
Gerard Oury made 17 films during his career
French director Gerard Oury has died aged 87 at his home in Saint Tropez.

The director was famed for his comic capers in the 1960s and 70s, such as La Grande Vadrouille (Don't Look Now, We're Being Shot At).

The 1966 movie was seen by 17 million people in France at the time - a French record until Titanic's release in 1997.

French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin said Oury was "a marvellous representative of the French spirit, of humour, generosity and tenderness".

Jacques Chirac, the French President, described Oury as "an immensely popular director and script writer, loved by the public, a master of laughter and good humour".

Comedy films

Oury's daughter Daniele Thompson - also a film director - told the Reuters news agency that his death came after months of illness.

"My father died peacefully in his home with his family and wife around him," she said.

Oury, whose real name was Max Gerard Houry, was the son of a Jewish violinist. He fled France in 1940 because of the Nazi occupation, but returned after the war.

He began his career as an actor and directed his first film in 1959.

His other notable films include Les Aventures de Rabbi Jacob (The Adventures of Rabbi Jacob) and Les Folie des Grandeurs (The Folly of Grandeur).

Although Oury's films were comedy-based, they usually also tackled serious issues such as racism.

He once said that his films "dealt with serious things by making people laugh".

He was honoured at the Cannes Film Festival in 2001.

Oury is survived by his wife, actress Michele Morgan, and his daughter Daniele, whose mother is actress Jacqueline Roman.

He will be buried at Montparnasse cemetery in Paris on Monday, the Academie des Beaux Arts - of which Oury was a member - announced.

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