Louis Jourdan

Louis Jourdan
R.O. Ritchie / Los Angeles Times


Louis Jourdan
Music: North side of the 6100 block of Hollywood Boulevard
Louis Jourdan
TV: North side of the 6400 block of Hollywood Boulevard
Born Louis Gendre on June 19, 1921 in Marseilles, France
Died Feb. 14, 2015 in Beverly Hills, Calif.

As an actor, only one thing really bothered Louis Jourdan: being cast as an amorous Frenchman.

"That oo-la-la, conventional, embarrassing character," he sighed. "I'm proud to be a Frenchman, but I resent the image people have of the stupid, continental charmer. Against that type of role, I fight pitilessly."

But with a profile like that, long lashes and an indestructible Gallic swing to every word, what can one do? After all, his most enduring role was that of the dashing love interest in 1958's "Gigi," with Leslie Caron and Maurice Chevalier.

Educated in France, Turkey and Britain, Jourdan made his film debut in 1939, establishing himself as a debonair leading man in French romantic comedies and dramas. But as war swept through Europe, and Germany occupied France, Jourdan made a stand: He refused demands to make Nazi propaganda films and joined the French underground.

After the war, David O. Selznick brought Jourdan to the States, where he launched a U.S. film career that included Alfred Hitchcock's "The Paradine Case" (1947), "Three Coins in the Fountain" (1954), "Can-Can" (1960) and "Octopussy" (1983). He also appeared on stage, on television and on a series of recorded books for children.

Jourdan died Feb. 14, 2015, at his home in Beverly Hills. He was 93.

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