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Last Updated: Sunday, 10 August, 2003, 12:00 GMT 13:00 UK
'French Hitchcock' Deray dies
Jacques Deray
Deray directed some 30 films in his career
French film director Jacques Deray, once dubbed the "French Hitchcock", has died aged 74, according to his family on Sunday.

Mr Deray, who was married with one daughter, died during the night from an unspecified illness.

His film-making career stretched back to the 1960s, and he directed some of France's biggest film stars, including Romy Schneider, Charlotte Rampling and Alain Delon, his favourite actor.

One of his best-known films was La Piscine (The Swimming Pool), a 1968 drama set in a villa in the beach resort of Saint-Tropez, which starred Delon.

Other films included Le Gigolo (1960), Du rififi a Tokyo (1961) and Symphonie pour un massacre (1963).

His English-language films also saw him work with Hollywood stars such as Roy Scheider, Ann Margret, George Hamilton and Nastassja Kinski.

He was born Jacques Desrayaud in Lyon on 19 February 1929. As a youngster he dreamed of becoming an actor, and later studied drama in Paris.

However, he then changed his vocation to directing, working with well-known French directors such as Jean Boyer and Henri Verneuil and the Spaniard Luis Bunuel.

"I have always defended the thriller, because it is a spectacle of the highest order," he once said.

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