Bourvil was born Andre Robert Raimbourg on July 27, 1917 in Prétot-Vicquemare, Seine-Inférieure, France. Andre’s father was killed in the First World War before he was born. As a result, he spent his entire childhood in the village of Bourville, the name of which inspired his stage name.
In his comic performances Bourvil principally played roles of gentle and well-meaning characters who were often a bit obtuse or naive, such as his roles opposite the hyperactive, dishonest and bossy ones played by Louis de Funès. Bourvil's characters not only managed to make viewers laugh, but also to save themselves from the Machiavellian designs of adversaries.
Bourvil was, however, also capable of more dramatic roles such as the handyman in “L'Arbre de Noël” (1969). In this role he observes the relationship between a man he works for and the young son who has fallen ill. The audience can identify with the character played by Bourvil, just as they can in his comic roles, so often as a simple man. One can also note his role of Thénardier in the film adaptation of “Les Misérables” (1958), and his last role as the policeman Mattei in Jean-Pierre Melville's “Le Cercle rouge” (1970).
In March 1948, Bourvil took part in the complete recording of Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffmann with artists of the Paris Opéra-Comique conducted by André Cluytens, playing the four 'servant' roles.
He married Jeanne Lefrique on January 23, 1943. After a battle with Kahler's syndrome, which attacks the bone marrow, he died at the age of 53 on September 23, 1970 in Paris, France.
BOURVIL (aka André Bourvil) (Andre Robert Raimbourg) [7/27/1917, Prétot-Vicquemare, Seine-Inférieure, France – 9/23/1970, Paris, Île-de- France, France (Kahler's syndrome)] – screenwriter, singer, comedian, stage, radio, TV actor, cousin of actor Lucien Raimbourg [1903-1973], married to Jeanne Lefrique [1918-1996] (1943-1970), father of lawyer Dominique Raimbourg [1950- ], professor Philippe Raimbourg [1953- ].
Texas Serenade – 1958 (Maitre Jerome Quilleboeuf)