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Subject: French Actor Daniel Gelin

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Date Posted: November 29, 2002 3:28:23 EDT

Actor Daniel Gelin, whose 60-year career in French theater, television and movies included playing a mysterious murder victim in Alfred Hitchcock's "The Man Who Knew Too Much," died Friday. He was 81.

Gelin died at the Georges Pompidou European hospital in Paris, hospital officials said. The hospital did not release a cause of death, but France-Info radio attributed it to kidney failure.

The actor was known for his eclectic choice of roles, from Napoleon in a 1955 film to a grumpy husband in the French television series "Les Saintes Cheries."

Gelin started his career in theater. Later, he worked with some of France's most esteemed filmmakers, including Claude Chabrol and Jean Cocteau.

English-language audiences knew him best for Hitchcock's 1956 "The Man Who Knew Too Much." He played a Frenchman who befriends Jimmy Stewart's character, an American vacationing in Morocco. Gelin's character is stabbed at a street market--but before he dies, he tells Stewart of an assassination plot.

French President Jacques Chirac called Gelin "one of France's most endearing actors" and said he would be remembered for his "subtlety and sensitivity in his roles."

Offstage, Gelin enjoyed gardening and wrote several volumes of poetry. He is survived by his third wife, Lydie, and three children.

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