Étaix, Pierre, 1928–2016, French film actor and director. He excelled at highly physical slapstick comedy, influenced by his background as a circus and cabaret performer, and by Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin . After working as an assistant to Jacques Tati on the film Mon Oncle (1958), he and the writer Jean-Claude Carrière produced two short films, La Rupture (1961, Rupture ) and Heureux Anniversaire (1962, Happy Anniversary; Academy Award). The pair then made two feature films, Le Soupirant (1963, The Suitor ) and Yoyo (1965), considered his masterpiece. These were followed by Tant qu'on a la santé (1966, As Long as You've Got Your Health ), Le Grand Amour (1969), and a documentary, Pays de Cocagne (1971, Land of Milk and Honey ), which was a critical and commercial failure. Étaix and his wife founded France's first circus school (1974), and he later wrote a successful play, L'Âge de Monsieur est avancé (1985; adapted for television 1987).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Film and Television: Biographies