Marcel Dalio

Active - 1932 - 1980  |   Born - Jul 17, 1900   |   Died - Nov 20, 1983   |   Genres - Drama, Comedy, Romance

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Short of stature but giant in talent, French actor Marcel Dalio entered films in 1933. He gained world-wide renown for his brilliant work in the Jean Renoir classics La Grande Illusion (1937) and Rules of the Game (1938). When the Nazis marched into Paris, the Jewish Dalio fled to the United States with his actress wife Madeleine Le Beau (the wisdom of his sudden flight was confirmed when the Nazis distributed a photograph of Dalio, labelled "The Typical Jew"). Launching his Hollywood career in 1941, Dalio was never able to rescale the heights of prominence that he'd enjoyed in France. In fact, he was often unbilled, even for his memorable role as the cynical croupier in 1942's Casablanca. The best of Dalio's Hollywood character parts included Clemenceau in Wilson (1945), Danny Kaye's nervous business associate in On the Riviera (1951), and the "dirty" old Italian in Catch-22 (1970). A frequent visitor to American television, Dalio was cast as Inspector Renault (the role originated by Claude Rains) in the short-lived 1955 TV version of Casablanca. In his final years, Marcel Dalio returned to the French film industry; his last movie assignment was 1980's Vaudoux aux Caraibes.

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