Tuesday, January 24, 2023

English voices of the Spaghetti Western – George Gonneau

 George Andre Gonneau was born in New York City on October 31, 1925. Although appearing in a few films and TV series his primary career was a voice actor at Titra Sound Studios in New York City. He was the regular English voice of Steve Reeves. One reason why so many of the American actors and their voice work is unknown is because the actors had to sign a secrecy clause because the studios did not want the fans to know their stars were being dubbed. After taking over the dubbing of Reeves on “Hercules” (1958), Gonneau continued to dub him on “Hercules Unchained” (1959), “Goliath and the Barbarians” (1959), “The Giant of Marathon” (1959), “Morgan the Pirate” (1960), “The Thief of Baghdad” (1961) and “Sandokan the Great” (1963). For reasons only known by Titra, Gonneau was selected to dub friend-of-the-hero Verus in the Reeves epic “The Slave” (1962).

In 1963 Gonneau was sent to Rome to discuss with Federico Fellini the English language version of “8½” (1963). Fellini approved of the project and Gonneau dubbed Marcello Mastroianni. Apart from providing English versions of foreign films, Gonneau and fellow Titra voice actor Norman Rose did a similar job for the New York stage. In 1985 their adaptation of "The Cost of Living" by Yves Jamiaque was presented at the Judith Anderson Theatre. Ten years later their same adaptation, as "Monsieur Amilcar," was included at the Chichester Festival in England.

Apart from his visits to Italy, Gonneau and his family lived in Paris from 1965 onwards whilst he worked for Avco Embassy Pictures. They returned to New York in 1975. On one occasion, George's son Daniel Gonneau (1961) was invited to the Titra studios to dub one of the children's parts. However, whilst Daniel went on to do boat building in Maine, his cousin Jackie Gonneau [1962] (daughter of George's brother Pierre) became an accomplished voice actress in her own right.

One of the leading voice actors on the Italian epics George supervised the English dubbing (sometimes with Lee Kresel) at the Titra Sound Studios, New York. He also narrated talking books, including "To Build a Fire" by Jack London and "The Diamond Lens" by Fitz-James O'Brien.

George died in his hometown of New York City on January 22, 1997. Since Gonneau had signed one of the secrecy clauses in his Titra contract we’ll never know how many voices or who he actually dubbed during his career.

GONNEAU, George (George Andre Gonneau) [10/31/1925, New York City, New York, U.S.A. – 1/22/1997, New York City, New York, U.S.A.] – writer, film, TV, voice actor, married to painter Sini Anita Kyllikki Snellman [1924-2006] (1951-1958) father of songwriter Pierre Gonneau.

George Gonneau’s English dubbed voices:

Fistful of Dollars – 1964 [English voice of Antonio Prieto]

The Brute and the Beast – 1966 [English voice of Franco Nero]

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