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Last Updated: Monday, 30 July 2007, 13:16 GMT 14:16 UK
French actor Michel Serrault dies
Michel Serrault
Serrault starred in a Paris show in 2004 for the victims of the tsunami
French actor Michel Serrault, star of more than 130 films including 1978's La Cage aux Folles, has died aged 79 after a long illness.

His role in the film as gay nightclub owner Albin won him a Cesar award.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy said: "He was a monument in the world of popular theatre, cinema and TV."

Serrault won a further two prestigious Cesars for playing an accused rapist and murderer in Garde A Vue and as a businessman in Nelly and Mr Arnaud.

Mr Sarkozy added the actor had touched "each French person with his talents as an actor - both comic and tragic".

'Greatly popular'

French Culture Minister Christine Albanel also paid tribute, describing Serrault as "a greatly popular actor, capable of affecting all sorts of audiences".

The Parisian-born star initially set his sights on the priesthood, and briefly entered a seminary, but dropped out because of the vow of chastity.

He studied acting in the French capital before working in cabarets. His first film was in 1954's Ah! Les Belles Bacchantes.

Serrault will be buried Wednesday or Thursday in Honfleur, Normandy.

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