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Sacha Guitry

Sacha Guitry, born February 21, 1885 in St. Petersburg, Russia – died July 24, 1957 in Paris, France, was a film actor, director and screenwriter and playwright.

He was the son of Lucien Germain Guitry (1860–1925), a major Parisian stage actor who spent nine years at the Michel Theater, in St. Petersburg, before returning to France. It was during this time in Russia that Alexandre-Pierre Georges Guitry was born and eventually nicknamed Sacha. As a five year old, he appeared on stage with his father. An intellect and a prolific writer with a sharp wit, by the age of 17 Guitry had already written the first of his 120 plays. In 1918 his theatrical production premiered in Paris to critical acclaim. Guitry's dramas include "Nono" (1905), "Deburan" (1918) and "Jean de la Fontaine" in 1922.

A prominent member of Parisian society, in 1919 Guitry married singing star Yvonne Printemps. Together they performed in a number of his plays bringing the extremely popular 1925 production of "Mozart" to cities in North America, including New York City, Montreal, Quebec and Boston, Massachusetts.

In addition to his plays, Sacha Guitry wrote and acted in many early films and in 1935 directed for the first time. He went on to be recognized as one of the truly innovative directors, sometimes compared to Orson Welles because of his techniques. Of the 30 films he directed, some of his most recognized are "The Story of a Cheat" (1937), "Pearls of the Crown" (1938), and " Royal Affair in Versailles" in 1953.

Sacha Guitry is interred with his fifth wife in the Cimetière de Montmartre, in the Parisian suburb of Montmartre.

In 1931, the government of France awarded him the Legion of Honor. After his passing, a street was named in his honor in the city of Nice, France and Radio France named a studio for him.

Last updated: 10-24-2004 05:10:45