Paul Meurisse was the son of a bank manager and it first looked as if he would follow in his father's footsteps when he became a solicitor's clerk in Aix-en-Provence. But his passion was elsewhere and he soon did the splits appearing as a chorus boy in music-hall revues. Leaving Aix for Paris, with a letter of recommendation signed by Huguette Duflos, he found work at once, at the "Trianon" first, and then at the "ABC" in a show by realistic singer Marie Dubas. He also appeared in Pigalle nightclubs. In 1939, Edith Piaf fell in love with him and both spent long months together. As "la M鬽e Piaf" did not think much of his singing talent(he had specialized in singing cheerful songs in a gloomy tone!) she urged him to become an actor, which he did in being her partner in Jean Cocteau's play "Le bel Indiff閞ent", even if it was in ... a silent role! From then on, his activity on stage as well as in films never ceased until his untimely death at age 66, following an acute attack of asthma. In the theater he played either in very successful light comedies by Marcel Achard, Andr?Roussin, Fran鏾ise Dorin or Jean Anouilh or in classics by Shakespeare or Shaw. He belonged to the Com閐ie Fran鏰ise company for 27 months. On the night before he passed away, he was still triumphing in Sacha Guitry's "Mon P鑢e avait Raison". Most of the first films he made were mediocre but things improved in the 1950's when he was chosen by Clouzot to star in "Les Diaboliques", in which he played to perfection a cruel, obnoxious husband. An unforgettable interpretation indeed, but Meurisse also appeared in a fistful of interesting movies directed by Duvivier ("Marie-Octobre"), Renoir ("Le D閖euner sur l'Herbe") and Melville ("Le deuxi鑝e Souffle", "L'Arm閑 des Ombres"). On the other hand, Meurisse proved unique and irreplaceable in a series of parodic spy movies hemmed by Georges Lautner ("Le Monocle noir", "L'Oeil du Monocle" and "Le Monocle rit jaune") as Commandant Theobald Dromard aka "Le Monocle", gracing these unpretentious films with distinction, composure and irony. The quintessence of Paul Meurisse's art.
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