Jean Del Val

Active - 1924 - 1967  |   Born - Nov 17, 1891   |   Died - Mar 13, 1975   |   Genres - Drama, Comedy, Romance, Adventure, War

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French character actor Jean Del Val was a regular in American films from at least 1927. In the early days of the talkies, he offered his services as translator and vocal coach for the French-language versions of American films. Many of his later roles were fleeting but memorable: he's the French aviator in Block-Heads (1938) who rescues over-aged doughboy Stan Laurel from the trenches ("Why, you blockhead. Ze war's been over for twenty years!") and the French radio announcer who opens Casablanca (1942) by spreading the news of the murder of two German couriers carrying letters of transit. He enjoyed a larger role in Columbia's So Dark the Night (1946), a film seemingly conceived as a showcase for the best of Hollywood's foreign-accented bit players. Active in films until the 1960s, Jean del Val played a crucial non-speaking role in Fantastic Voyage (1966): he's the comatose scientist whose arterial system and brain are explored by the miniaturized heroes.

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