Pierre Étaix (French: [etɛks]; 23 November 1928 – 14 October 2016) was a French clown, comedian and filmmaker. Étaix made a series of short- and feature-length films, many of them co-written by influential screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière. He won an Academy Award for best live action short film in 1963. Due to a legal dispute with a distribution company, his films were unavailable from the 1970s until 2009.
Pierre Étaix, 2011
|Born||23 November 1928|
|Died||14 October 2016 (aged 87)|
|Occupation||Actor, director, clown|
Annie Violette Fratellini (m. 1969–1997)
As an actor, assistant director and gag writer, Étaix worked with the likes of Jacques Tati, Robert Bresson, Nagisa Oshima, Otar Iosseliani and Jerry Lewis, the last of whom cast the comedian in his unreleased film The Day the Clown Cried.
Étaix was born in 1928 in Roanne, France. He was trained as a designer and introduced to the art of stained glass by Théodore-Gérard Hanssen. He settled in Paris where he worked as a magazine illustrator while performing in cabarets and music halls, such as The Golden Horse, The Three Donkeys, ABC, the Alhambra, Bobino and Olympia, and a circus performer with the clown Nino.
He met Jacques Tati in 1954 and worked as a draftsman and gagman on Tati's film Mon Oncle, including the creation of the film's promotional poster, then as assistant director (1958). According to many film critics as well as admirers among his fellow film makers, Pierre Étaix was a continuation of the great masters of slapstick and the comedy film the silent era such as Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, Harry Langdon, Max Linder, Charlie Chaplin, and Laurel and Hardy.
He directed his first feature film The Suitor in 1963 and Yoyo in 1964, where he paid homage to the circus world. He then directed two feature films, As Long As We've Got Our Health (1965), and The Great Love (1968) that he co-scripted with Carrière.
Faced with the scarcity of French circus artists, Étaix decided to found the National Circus School (1973) with Annie Fratellini, whom he married in 1969, and wore a white clown suit during tours of their own circus, having long played the tramp.
Etaix died from complications of an intestinal infection on 14 October 2016 in Paris. He was 87.
- Louis Delluc Prize, 1962, for Le Soupirant
- Special Diploma, 1963, for Le Soupirant at the 3rd Moscow International Film Festival
- Academy Award, Best Short Subject, Live Action Subjects (1963), for Heureux anniversaire shared with Jean-Claude Carrière
- Telluride Film Festival Silver Medallion, 2011
- Aardman Slapstick Visual Comedy Award, 2012
- Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres, 2013
- Grand Prize of the SACD (Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers), 2013
- Rupture (1961) Short
- Insomnie (1962 short, incorporated into 1971 re-edited feature As Long as You've Got Your Health)
- Heureux Anniversaire (Happy Anniversary, 1962) Short
- Le Soupirant (The Suitor, 1963)
- Nous n'irons plus au bois (1961) Short unreleased
- Yoyo (1965)
- Tant qu'on a la santé (As Long As You've Got Your Health, 1966, re-edited 1971)
- En pleine forme (Feeling Good, 1966 originally part of As Long as You've Got Your Health, 1971 re-edited into a stand-alone short and released in 2010) Short
- Le grand amour (1969)
- Pays de cocagne (Land of Milk and Honey, 1971) Documentary
- Souris noire (1987) Episode of TV series
- L'âge de Monsieur est avancé (1987) TV film
- Méliès 88: Rêve d'artiste (1988) TV short
- J'écris dans l'espace (1989) Documentary
- Pickpocket (1959)
- Tire-au-flanc 62 (The Army Game, 1960)
- Rupture (1961)
- Une grosse tête (1962)
- Le Pèlerinage (1962)
- Heureux anniversaire (1962)
- Le Soupirant (1963)
- Yo Yo (1964)
- Tant qu'on a la santé (As Long As We've Got Our Health, 1966)
- Le Voleur (The Thief of Paris, 1966)
- Le Grand Amour (1968)
- I Clowns (1971)
- The Day the Clown Cried (1972, unreleased)
- Bel Ordure (1973)
- Sérieux comme le plaisir (1974)
- Noctuor (1978)
- La Métamorphose (1983)
- Max, mon amour (1985)
- L'âge de monsieur est avancé (1987)
- Nuit docile (1987)
- Henry & June (1990)
- Jardins en automne (Gardens in Autumn, 2006)
- Lucifer et moi (2008)
- Micmacs à tire-larigot (2009)
- Chantrapas (2010)
- Le Havre (2011)
- "Pierre Étaix, Director and Slapstick Actor, Dies at 87" by William Grimes,The New York Times, 14 October 2016
- Pierre Etaix obituary by Ronald Bergan, The Guardian, 14 October 2016
- "3rd Moscow International Film Festival (1963)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 16 January 2013. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
- "Visual Comedy Award - Slapstick | Bristol's Silent Comedy Festival". Bristol's Silent Comedy Festival website. Retrieved 7 March 2017.
- Hommage à Pierre Etaix, Société des auteurs, compositeurs et éditeurs de musique, 15 October 2016 (in French)
- "Pierre Etaix". The Criterion Collection. Retrieved 30 June 2019.
- "En pleine forme", Wikipédia (in French), 15 October 2016, retrieved 30 June 2019