Associated Press Writer
28 October 1990

PARIS (AP) — Jacques Demy, the French master of musical comedies best known for his 1963 film “Les Parapluies de Cherbourg,” has died of a brain hemorrhage brought on by leukemia, associates said Sunday. He was 59.

Demy died Saturday night, the associates said.

Demy brought to France the musical comedy style popularized in Hollywood but never big in the U.S. Among his other major musicals was the acclaimed “Les Demoiselles de Rochefort” (The Maidens of Rochefort) of 1966, starring Catherine Deneuve and her elder sister, Francoise Dorleac.

He also directed the film version of the fairy tale “Peau d’Ane” (Donkey Skin) in 1970 starring Miss Deneuve.

“Les Parapluies de Cherbourg” (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg) firmly established Demy as a leading director of musicals by winning the Palme D’Or award at the Cannes Film Festival.

Born in the Atlantic village of Pontchateau in 1931, Demy studied at the Technical College of Fine Arts in Nantes and the Technical School of Photography in Paris.

After turning out several short films, his first feature-length piece, “Lola” (1960) with Anouk Aimee, was warmly received by critics who placed him among those active in “nouveau cinema” at the turn of the decade.

In 1962 he directed “La Baie des Anges” (Window of Angels) with Jeanne Moreau, a story of two gamblers at the oceanside casinos of Nice, which also reflected Demy’s passion of the sea. That year he married fellow director Agnes Varda.

He won the national Grand Prix of Cinema for his 1982 “Chambre en Ville” (A Room in the City). He called the film a “musical tragicomedy,” explaining at the time that “in the last 20 years, since `Les Parapluies de Cherbourg,’ things have changed. My story is more violent, more passionate, and has become more funny.”

His last film was “Trois Places Pour le 26” (Three Places for the 26) in 1988, which marked the return of Yves Montand to cinema.

He and Ms. Varda had one son, Mathieu.

(Written by Terril Jones, Oct. 28, 1990)

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