Paris-based actor and interpreter Waguih Takla died Nov. 12 in Beirut from an opportunistic infection. He was 61.
For nearly three decades, the polyglot Takla conducted press conferences and facilitated junkets with the biggest names in showbiz visiting France.
While his major client in Gaul was Warner Bros., Takla also worked with UIP, Fox and others. Takla was known for his skill in diplomatically translating rambling or esoteric questions from the French press for the benefit of English-speaking talent.
Takla’s humor enabled him to keep up with even the daunting verbal improvisations of Robin Williams during the irrepressible comedian’s visit to the Deauville Film Festival, where Takla was chief interpreter for many years.
Born in Egypt to an Egyptian father and a French mother, Takla left for Lebanon with his family in 1956. Takla completed his university studies in math in France before moving to New York in 1969, where he opened a travel agency and performed in Off Off Broadway theater.
Takla later moved to Paris, where his interpreting talent led to a career as a year-round interpreter for filmmakers and actors passing through the capital and appearing at fests, particularly Cannes and Deauville.
Takla played both nice guys and villains, reaching huge national audiences with his role in Gallic miniseries “Caribbean Hearts.” He appeared earlier this year as the owner of a camera shop in contempo Algiers in Nadir Mokneche’s arthouse hit “Viva Laldjerie.” He is survived by his mother and a sister.