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'Postino,' 'Paradiso' Star Noiret Dies

Philippe Noiret, the renowned French actor best known in the U.S. for "Il Postino" and "Cinema Paradiso," has died at the age of 76.

The actor, who had been battling cancer, died Thursday, Nov. 23 in Paris of undisclosed causes, report news sources.

Philippe Noiret was born in Lille, France on October 1, 1930. He trained at the Dramatique de l'Ouest and began touring with the Theatre Nationale Populaire in Paris. He met wife Monique Chaumette there, and they married in 1962.

With his gentle, droopy features, Noiret was not cut out to be the romantic hero, but often played the middle class everyman or occasionally an aristocrat in his more than 125 films. He made his film debut in 1956's "La Pointe Courte," and then after four years, starred in the Louis Malle's 1960 farce "Zazie in the Metro."

He won Cesars, the French equivalent of the Academy Award, for his roles in the World War II film "Vieux Fusil" ("The Old Gun") and "La Vie et rien d'autre" ("Life and Nothing Else").

North American audiences fondly remember him as the mentoring projectionist Alfredo in Guiseppe Tornatore's romantic "Cinema Paradiso," and as the inspirational poet Pablo Neruda in "Il Postino." His latest film, "Trois Amis" ("Three Friends") by Michel Boujenah, has yet to be released.

Noiret is survived by his wife and their daughter Frederique.

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