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Johnny Hallyday, Gallic rocker worshiped as the 'French Elvis,' dies at 74

Dennis McLellan, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

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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