Serge Reggiani would have been 100 years old: His most beautiful songs, the women of his life, his drama...

Hairdresser, actor, singer, lyricist and painter, he is the Italian and the Barber of Belleville. Born on May 2, 1922, Serge Reggiani died of a heart attack on July 22, 2004, at the age of 82, a few hours after Sacha Distel... He rests in the Montparnasse cemetery and here is the outline of his incredible life.

  Serge Reggiani would have been 100 years old: His most beautiful songs, the women of his life, his drama...

When Serge Reggiani passed away on July 22, 2004, many feel they have lost a warm figure who has accompanied them for many years. This immigrant, who arrived in France following his Italian parents in 1930, will be throughout a long career, distinguished in film and popular music.

One of the Italians in France

Serge Reggiani was born on May 2, 1922 in Reggio Emilia and in 1930 he followed his anti-fascist parents to Yvetot, Normandy , in France, who fled Mussolini and poverty . When he started working as hairdresser in his younger years, the anger of a dissatisfied lady made him change his path. He finds in a newspaper an ad for classes at the Academy of Dramatic Art .

The Theater immediately rewarded him: he was barely twenty years old when he played in Racine's Britannicus directed by Jean Marais, then in 1942 in The Terrible Parents of Jean Cocteau who will be its discoverer. As Yves Montand or Lino Ventura , Serge Reggiani is part of this generation of giants, immigrants from Italy. But he was very different from them. Elegant, he had never had the manners of a seducer, he had neither the virile roughness of a Ventura nor the impudence of a Montand. Reggiani was the class, the discretion, the extreme humanity that he exuded.

A career punctuated by personal dramas

After the revelation on the stage, Serge Reggiani arrives at the cinema and will leave an indelible mark there. Actor beloved by Claude Sautet and Claude Lelouch , it is with them that he finds his best roles and imposes his soft and borrowed presence on the screen in films like Vincent, François, Paul and the others in 1974 or even The good guys and the bad guys in 1976.

The suicide of his son

The humanity and modesty that Serge Reggiani exuded on screen come in part from the drama he experienced with the suicide of his eldest son Stephan in 1980 . In his memoirs, he confesses to two suicide attempts and a long addiction to alcohol .

Serge Reggiani in 3 marriages

Serge Reggiani was married to actresses Janine Darcey from 1945 to 1955, then Annie Noël from 1957 to 1973. In 2003, he married a year before his death, actress Noêlle Adam, with whom he had shared his life for 30 years.

Serge Reggiani, enchanting poet: his most beautiful songs

Serge Reggiani had slowly flourished in music, song after song: L'Italien, which was his anthem, Le Déserteur (by Boris Vian), those written for him by Mustaki , which still totally represent it: My Solitude, My Freedom , and even Sarah, The Wolves , and The Barbier of Belleville , his history. It's Reggiani which brought Montand and Signoret together , and with them, he shares a political activism that leads him to sing for the students of Paris 1968.

Serge Reggiani was passionate about song until the mid-1980s, then it was the turn of the painting . He organized one exhibition a year and will always admit that he fell in love in Picasso's studio... but not his own inspiration. Humility, all the way.