Jean Gabin [2/2]


_Gabin continued rejecting Hollywood offers until the Second World War broke out. He then went to the US with Julien Duvivier and Jean Renoir after the Germans took over France, where he soon engaged in an affair with Marlene Deitrich. Unfortunately, he was not as successful in America.

Gabin further damaged his Hollywood career when he inordinately demanded to let Dietrich become the co-star in a movie he was making under RKO pictures. Gabin was fired following the dispute, and the film was cancelled.

He then joined the Free French Forces under General Charles de Gaulle, and received the ‘Médaille Militaire’ and a ‘Croix de Guerre’ for his bravery in combat during the fight in North Africa.

Gabin returned to show business in France, but his behaviour constantly got him in trouble. Moreover, several of his subsequent films turned out poorly at the box office, and his attempts at a return to the stage failed to meet success as well.

He managed to regain momentum with Jacques Becker’s ‘Touchez pas au grisbi’ in 1954.

Gabin succumbed to leukaemia at the American Hospital of Paris, in Neuilly-sur-Seine. His remains were cremated and his ashes were scattered with full military honours from a military ship.

He was recognised as one of the most famous actors of French cinema, and was admitted into the Legion of Honor. In Mériel, his town of birth, the Musée Jean Gabin presents his film and war memorabilia.

Jean Gabin [1/2]


_Name: Jean Gabin
Date of Birth: 1904 – 1976
Place of Birth: Paris, France

Jean Gabin, born Jean-Alexis Moncorgé, was a war hero and popular French actor. Born in Paris to cabaret entertainers, he was raised Mériel village in the département of Seine-et-Oise.

Gabin returned to show business after finishing his military service. He went under the stage name ‘Jean Gabin’ and accepted all offers that came his way in the Parisian operettas and music halls, mimicking the singing style of Maurice Chevalier who was very popular during that time. He joined a troupe on a tour of South America and got a job at the Moulin Rouge when he returned to France. He began attracting attention, and took on better roles on stage until he was given roles in two silent movies in 1928.

In 1930, he got a part in ‘Chacun sa Chance’, a Pathé Frères production, where he showed an easy transition into talking films. Over the succeeding four years, Gabin continued taking secondary roles in over a dozen films. Gabin officially became a major star following his performance as a romantic hero in Duvivier’s war drama ‘La Bandera’ in 1936.

He rejoined Duvivier the next year for ‘Pépé le Moko’, a highly successful film that achieved worldwide fame and was recognised as one of the top-grossing movies of 1937. With the movie, Gabin achieved international acclaim. He went on to star in several highly successful films, such as ‘La Grande Illusion’ by Jean Renoir.