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French Actor Jacques Bergerac, ‘Hypnotic Eye’ Star, Dies at 87

Jacques Bergerac, a French actor who made a name for himself in film and TV and was wed to some of Hollywood’s most sought-after actresses during the 1950s and ’60s, has died. He was 87.

Bergerac died June 15 at his home in Anglet in the Pyrenees-Atlantiques region of southwest France, according to French media reports. The actor appeared in the cult horror film “Hypnotic Eye” and musical romantic comedy “Gigi” alongside Louis Jourdan and Leslie Caron.

Bergerac gained his U.S. citizenship in 1963 and married Oscar-winning actress Ginger Rogers when he was 26. Rogers was 16 years his senior. He left his law studies behind in France and returned to the U.S. with Rogers to pursue a career in acting.

After they first met in France, Rogers landed him a screen test at MGM, which led to a role in “Twist of Fate” in 1954 with him playing her onscreen boyfriend.

After their divorce in 1957, Bergerac married Academy Award-winning actress Dorothy Malone after a romance in Hong Kong.

Bergerac received favorable reviews during his time in showbiz. In the 1958 Variety review of “Gigi,” he was described as perfectly fitting the bill for his role alongside his co-stars.

“It has all the ingredients. It’s a naughty but nice romp of the hyper-romantic naughty ’90s of Paris-in-the-spring, in the Bois, in Maxim’s, and in the boudoir. How can it miss?” the review read. “To Bergerac’s casual courting of light ladies’ loves… all are ideal choices for their roles.”

Bergerac worked with Gene Kelly in the 1957 musical comedy “Les Girls.” He appeared in a slew of movies up until the late 1960s, which include “Thunder in the Sun” (1959), “Fear No More” (1961), “Always on Sunday” (1962), “Fury of Achilles” (1962), “A Global Affair” (1964) and “Unkissed Bride” (1966).

He also appeared on several TV popular shows, including “The Millionaire,” “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “Perry Mason,” “Get Smart” and “The Lucy Show.” His last TV appearance was on “The Doris Day Show” in 1969.

After leaving the film world, Bergerac returned to Paris and became an exec with Revlon Cosmetics, working under his brother Michael, who was president and chairman of the company.

He is survived by two daughters, Mimi and Diane, with Malone.

 

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