Artist Catalog

Pierre Fresnay

Born: April 4 1897
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Pierre Fresnay

Pierre Fresnay (4 April 1897 in Paris, France – 9 January 1975) was a French stage and film actor.

Born Pierre Jules Louis Laudenbach, he was encouraged by his uncle, actor Claude Garry, to pursue a career in theater and film. During the 1920s, Fresnay appeared in many popular stage productions, most notably in the title role of Marcel Pagnol’s Marius (1929), which ran for over 500 performances. His first great screen role was as Marius in the 1931 film adaptation of the play of the same name. He replayed the role in the next two parts of Marcel Pagnol's Marseilles Trilogy, Fanny (1932) and César (1936).

He appeared in more than 60 films, eight of which were with Yvonne Printemps, with whom he lived since 1934. In that same year, he appeared in Alfred Hitchcock's first version of The Man Who Knew Too Much. In 1937, he portrayed the aristocratic French military officer Captain de Boeldieu in Jean Renoir's masterpiece La Grande Illusion.

In 1947, he played Vincent de Paul in Monsieur Vincent, for which he won the Volpi Cup for Best Actor at the Venice Film Festival. He also portrayed Nobel Peace Prize laureate Albert Schweitzer in Il est minuit, Docteur Schweitzer (1952).