Why did the actor hide his bone marrow cancer for so long?

Bourvil loved to joke around and made millions of viewers laugh with his hilarious and naive roles. But behind this popular figure of French cinema (who hated Fernandel…) hid a modest and determined man. Today, Bourvil, whose friendship with Jean-Pierre Mocky was based on a misunderstanding, is without a doubt one of the most endearing and outstanding actors of the French comic and popular cinema. The evening dedicated to him by the France 3 channel, this afternoon, at 9:10 p.m., with the unpublished documentary The Bourvil Junction (whose title obviously refers to the movie The crossing of Paris) is an opportunity to learn more about him.

Bourvil: family first

At 17, André Raimbourg says BourvilleHe meets Jeanne at a dance, but will wait nine years before marrying her. Not because of her hesitation, but because the future actor wants to earn enough money to live in Paris with her. Together they will have two children, Dominique and Philippe, and if the actor lives for his work, he easily leaves a movie to spend the holidays with his wife and his children. When he goes on tour in Paris or plays there in the theater, he has lunch and dinner with them. And he only works nine months a year, so he can take advantage of his loved ones. Family members he keeps away from his professional life.

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Bourvil: the cinema, his only forum

Bourvil has always refused to speak in public on topics that do not pertain to his art, claiming that it was not his role and that he did not have the skills to do so. “I am neither a philosopher, nor a great writer, nor a politician. I’m just an actor. And a singer sometimeshe likes to be precise. I like to talk about my work, but that’s it. I’m so afraid of saying nonsense…» However, he never hesitates to choose projects that allow him to deal with sensitive, even sulphurous, themes of French society in the sixties. Jean-Pierre Mocky gives him the opportunity four times, with movies like a funny parishionerabout religion, Heelabout sex…

Bourvil: discreet to the end, hid his illness

In 1969, was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer. An illness that Bourvil will carefully hide… out of necessity, fearing that he will no longer be able to work if the insurers find out. Suffering in silence for three years, she continues to film despite intense pain and paralysis of her tongue. Angrily, she trains herself in front of the mirror, to find a perfect elocution. While the evil gnaws at him, he still claims that he is “varnished” to be so accomplished with his profession and his family. Aware of his near end, but still optimistic, or in denial, he signs on to new projects that he will never do: a show at Olympia, the film Megalomania with his former accomplices Gérard Oury and Louis de Funès. He is shooting his latest movie, the atlantic wallduring the summer of 1970. He died in September, only 53 years old.

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