At 17, he recalled, "I was playing a ballroom gig one Sunday to get some money to pay for my acting classes when a producer heard me and asked me to do a record. I did it, and it all just happened from there."
Hallyday began appearing in French movies after he gained rock 'n' roll fame, but he primarily played singers.
"It wasn't what I wanted to do," he told the New York Times in 2003. "I wanted to separate the singer from the actor. So I stopped for several years and then started to work again with 1/8directors3/8 Costa-Gavras, Jean-Luc Godard -- roles where I wasn't a singer at all."
Hallyday received critical acclaim for his role as a bank robber in director Patrice Leconte's "Man on the Train."
"He's the equivalent of Joan of Arc in France," late actor Jean Rochefort, who co-starred in the film, once told the New York Times. "For me, he isn't really an actor but a man who has a presence, an undeniable charisma."
Hallyday, who had several marriages, including to French singing star Sylvie Vartan, is survived by his wife, Laeticia; and four children, Jade, Joy, Laura Smet and Dave.
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