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Last Updated: Friday, 24 November 2006, 00:02 GMT
French actor Philippe Noiret dies
Philippe Noiret, 2003
Philippe Noiret was adored in his home country and beyond
French film star Philippe Noiret, one of the most popular and prolific actors of his generation, has died at the age of 76.

Noiret, who made more than 125 films in a career spanning over half a century, died after battling cancer.

Famed for his flexibility, he was able to play roles as diverse as haughty aristocrats and middle-class men.

Among his most famous films was Cinema Paradiso, in which he played a village projectionist.

Other memorable roles included the exiled Chilean poet Pablo Neruda in Il Postino (The Postman) and a middle-aged glutton in La Grande Bouffe (Blow Out).

Panache

Noiret moved from the stage to the screen, helping to shape the French cinema of the 1960s.

His portrayal of an unhappy uncle in Zazie dans le Metro (Zazie on the Metro) made his name.

Philippe Noiret, 1981
Over the years he worked with all of France's top directors
Known as a workaholic, Noiret considered every role a test.

"What's difficult is not doing something, it's redoing it," he once said of his art.

French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin said the worlds of theatre and film had been suddenly orphaned by Noiret's death.

"Through his voice, his allure, his panache, Philippe Noiret knew how to seize and express something within the French soul," he said.

"The silhouette and the voice, so tender and familiar, will be missed by all," he added.






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