Boyer, Charles

(1899-1978)
   Actor. Charles Boyer was born in Figeac, in Southern France. From an early age, Boyer was interested in acting, theater, and the newly invented cinema. When he finished his studies at the lycée, he went to Paris, where he studied at both the Sorbonne and the Paris Conservatoire d'art dramatique.
   After an earlier debut on the Paris stage, Boyer appeared onscreen for the first time in 1920, in Marcel L'Herbier's L'Homme du large. He had a starring role, fairly significant for a new actor, and the film served to launch his screen career. During the silent-film era, Boyer made a number of successful films that established him as an international star. These included Esclave (1922), directed by Georges Monca, and Le Capitaine Fracasse (1929), directed by Alberto Cavalcanti. As sound gradually came to dominate the film industry, Boyer, for a time, lost his international appeal, since English was not among the four languages he spoke. During the first half of the 1930s, Boyer made films predominantly in France, most notably La Bataille (1933) and L'Épervier (1933), both directed by L'Herbier. Boyer also worked with Hollywood studios doing dubbing work for French versions of Hollywood films.
   In 1934, Boyer, who had been learning English, gave a boost to his language skills as well as his personal life when he married British actress Pat Peterson (the two would remain married until Peterson's death in 1978). Boyer's new fluency gave him new access to Hollywood, and he played opposite Claudette Cobert in Gregory LaCava's Private Worlds (1935). The film and Boyer's successful onscreen pairing with Colbert inaugurated a new Hollywood phase to Boyer's film career, and for many years he would work in both France and Hollywood. In France Boyer starred in such films as L'Herbier's Le Bonheur (1935), Anatole Litvak's Mayerling (1936), Marc Allégret's Orage (1938) and Le Corsaire (1939), Max Ophuls'sMadame de . . . (1953), Christian-Jacque's Nana (1954), Henri Verneuil's Maxime (1958) and Les Démons de minuit (1962), again with Allegret, René Clement's Paris brûle-t-il (1966), and Alain Resnais's Stavisky (1974).
   In Hollywood, Boyer became the quintessential Frenchman, refined and elegantly romantic, making such films as I Loved a Soldier (1936) and The Garden of Allah (1936), both with Marlene Dietrich; Algiers (1938), an English-language remake of Julien Duvivier's Pépé le Moko (1937); Love Affair (1939); Gaslight (1944), in which he played a villain; Arch of Triumph (1948), with Ingrid Bergman; The Thirteenth Letter (1951), a remake of Henri-Georges Clouzot's Le Corbeau (1943); The Bucanneer (1958); the English-language version of Marcel Pagnol's Fanny (1961); Barefoot in the Park (1967); and his final film, A Matter of Time (1976), in which he again starred opposite Ingrid Bergman as well as Liza Minelli.
   Although Boyer worked on both continents, he became an American citizen in 1942, and resided in the United States for most of the rest of his life. He took his own life shortly after the death of Peterson, his wife of fifty-four years, from cancer. The great onscreen gigolo and playboy was, in real life, a devoted and loyal husband.
   Historical Dictionary of French Cinema by Dayna Oscherwitz & Mary Ellen Higgins

Guide to cinema. . 2011.

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  • Boyer, Charles — (1899 1978)    Actor. Charles Boyer was born in Figeac, in Southern France. From an early age, Boyer was interested in acting, theater, and the newly invented cinema. When he finished his studies at the lycée, he went to Paris, where he studied… …   Historical Dictionary of French Cinema

  • Boyer, Charles — born Aug. 28, 1897, Figeac, France died Aug. 26, 1978, Phoenix, Ariz., U.S. French U.S. actor. After earning a philosophy degree from the Sorbonne, he made his stage debut in Paris in 1920. He became a popular romantic leading man in French… …   Universalium

  • Boyer, Charles — ► (1897 1978) Actor cinematográfico y teatral francés. Protagonista de El cielo y tú, Luz que agoniza y Madame de..., entre otras. * * * (28 ago. 1897, Figeac, Francia–26 ago. 1978, Phoenix, Ariz., EE.UU.). Actor francoestadounidense. Después de… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Charles Boyer — from the film Love Affair (1939) Born 28 August 1899(1899 08 28) Figeac, Lot, Midi Pyrénées, France …   Wikipedia

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