Jean Servais

Jean Servais (French: [sɛʁvɛ]; 24 September 1910 – 17 February 1976) was a Belgian film and stage actor.[1] He acted in many 20th century French cinema productions, from the 1930s through the early 1970s.

Jean Servais
Jean Servais.jpg
Servais in Prelude to Madness (1948).
Born(1910-09-24)24 September 1910
Antwerp, Belgium
Died17 February 1976(1976-02-17) (aged 65)
Paris, France
Years active1932–1939, 1948–1973
Spouse(s)Dominique Blanchar

He was married to Gilberte Graillot, and later actress Dominique Blanchar.[1]


Servais trained at the Brussels Conservatory of Dramatic Arts, where he won the Second Prize. His acting skills came to the attention of Raymond Rouleau, and he was hired at the Théâtre du Marais, where he acted in Le mal de jeunesse, which was successful in Brussels and in Paris. He was also a member of Jean-Louis Barrault's theatre company.[1]

His first film role was as the simple country dweller who was the victim of an error by the justice system in the film Criminel (1932), directed by Jack Forrester. Servais's film career continued in the 1930s with roles in films such as La Chanson De L'Adieu (1934) and La Vie Est Magnifique (1938). After a break in acting during World War II, he returned to the screen with roles in films such as La Danse De Mort (1948).

In the 1950s, he appeared in the crime drama Rififi [1][2] (1955), which François Truffaut ranked as the best film noir,[3] directed by American Jules Dassin,[2][3] in which he played a leader of a gang of jewel thieves.[2][3][4]

He appeared in another film directed by Jules Dassin in 1957, He Who Must Die (Celui qui doit mourir). He also appeared in a film written and directed by Luis Buñuel, La fièvre monte à El Pao (1959).

In the 1950s and 1960s, Servais rejoined the Renaud-Barrault theatre troupe for several plays, including La Répétition ou l'Amour puni (1950), Volpone (1955), and Marat/Sade (1966).

In the 1960s, Servais took small character roles in popular international fare such as The Longest Day (1962), an epic recreation of the Allied invasion of Normandy, and That Man from Rio (1964). Other films in which he acted include Le Sahara brûle (1961), Un Soir Par Hasard (1964), and Avec la peau des autres (1966).

He had roles in several films in the early 1970s, such as The Devil's Nightmare (1971), an Italian horror series, and Le Protecteur (1974), about a recently released prisoner who tries to find his daughter who has fallen into the underworld of prostitution.

Selected filmographyEdit

Films with roles played by Jean Servais include:


  1. ^ a b c d IMDb profile: Jean Servais
  2. ^ a b c Crowther, Bosley (6 June 1956). "Rififi (1955) Screen: Tough Paris Crime Story; 'Rififi,' About a Jewel Theft, at Fine Arts". The New York Times.
  3. ^ a b c Los Angeles Times Review: 'Rififi' screening a welcome return of cracking good classic, by Kenneth Turan, 4 September 2015.
  4. ^ IMDb: Rififi (1955) - Full Cast & Crew

Further readingEdit

  • Yvan Foucart: Dictionnaire des comédiens français disparus, Mormoiron : Éditions cinéma, 2008, p. 1185, ISBN 978-2-9531-1390-7

External linksEdit