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Yves Montand

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Paris, France (1944 – 1991)

Yves Montand (13 October 1921 – 9 November 1991) was an Italian-born French actor and singer.

Montand was born Ivo Livi in Monsummano Terme, Italy, the son of poor peasants Giuseppina (née Simoni) and Giovanni Livi, a broommaker. Montand’s mother was a devout Catholic, while his father held strong Communist beliefs. Because of the Fascist regime in Italy, Montand’s family left for France in 1923. He grew up in Marseille, where, as a young man, he worked in his sister’s barber shop, and later on the docks. He began a career in show business as a music-hall singer. In 1944, he was discovered by Édith Piaf in Paris and she made him part of her act, becoming his mentor and lover.

Montand went on to international recognition as a singer and actor, starring in numerous films. His recognizably crooner songs, especially those about Paris, became instant classics.
He was one of the most famous performers at Bruno Coquatrix’s famous Paris Olympia music hall.

In 1951, he married the actress Simone Signoret, and they co-starred in several films throughout their careers. The marriage was, by all accounts, fairly harmonious, lasting until her death in 1985, although Montand had a number of well-publicised affairs, notably with Marilyn Monroe, with whom he starred in one of her last films, Let’s Make Love. During his career, Montand acted in a number of American motion pictures as well as on Broadway. He was nominated for a Cesar Award for “Best Actor” in 1980 for “I comme Icare” and again in 1984 for “Garçon!”

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