Fernand Joseph Désiré Contandin: biography, creativity, career and personal life

Laughter became the craft of the man-clown Fernand Joseph Desiree Contandin. Success with the public guaranteed a barely noticeable smile. In his youth, the soldier was even freed from carrying the guard, as the facial expressions of the sentry attracted universal attention, providing the crowd with a yawning.

The path to calling


biography of the future star began in 1903. The boy appeared in Marseille on May 8 in the family of a bank employee. His father’s spare time was given to performances on stage under the pseudonym Cene. Five-year-old Fernand also played with his father.


boy was involved in his pleasure in all the performances, where a small artist was required. Often the company was the elder and younger brother Marcel. The father dreamed that both children would become entertainers.

The decision on a comic career ten-year-old Fernand made after a speech by coupletist Polen. The boy quickly learned the chansonnier repertoire and later performed couplets at a local cafe. The first success inspired the kid to continue. Soon the younger Cinet was taking part in the amateur chansonnier competition, coming second.

An attempt to work at a bank like a father was unsuccessful. The guy performed in the evenings with couplets and sketches.

Cinema and family

After the First World War, Contanden Sr., with the help of his sons, decided to open a harchovny. The case proved unsuccessful, sparking business from Fernand. Commerce that changed to work as a docker. However, very soon not athletic addition the young man understood that physical labor is not for him.

In 1922 Contanden began performances in Nice under contract with the local cabaret “Eldorado” under the pseudonym Fernandel. To his name he added the nickname of Henrietta, the sister of Jean Mance, in a future screenwriter whose works would make up the comedian’s repertoire for many years.

Then there was a theatre company and a tour of the south of the country, providing the guy with the amplua of the first comedian and hangagement on the stages of Marseille. However, instead of dramtheater, the actor went to a musical hall. The young man married. His choice was Henrietta Mance. Baby Josette appeared in the family, Frank and Jeanine behind her. After serving in the army, Fernandel accepted an invitation for a lengthy tour of the country and abroad, and then began performances in the capital’s Bobino Theatre Cabaret.

Successful performances cemented the author’s image. By that moment in cinema, which became sound, required actors with stage speech skills. Fernand decided to try his hand. A successful debut took place in 1930 in the short “Best Babysitter”. After the triumph, there was no cull from the offer. The artist quickly became one of the country’s most popular performers.

World fame

His habitual character became a frivolous and carefree man. Comic effect caused suppers, grimaces and a unique smile of Fernandel. But also with dramatic talent the entertainer was not shared, able to move from buffonade to drama. He proved this work in the 1937 film “The Ballroom Notebook”. The role of hairdresser was called one of the best in career.

A new interest in Fernandel’s work came in the Fifties. He won the Courtelin Prize as France’s best comedian, made a Chevalier of the Order of the Legion of Honour. His best film was named the picture “The Law Is the Law”, where Fernandel’s screen partner was Italian comedian Toto.

Beginning in the Sixties, the artist increasingly appeared in melodramas. Together with Jean Gaben, the comedian created the film company “Gafer”. The artist’s last film was the 1970 tape “Happy Is He Who Like Ulysses”.

From life the great actor left in 1971, February 26.

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