Daniel Gelin, 81; Versatile French Actor Had 60-Year Career

From Staff and Wire Reports

Daniel Gelin, 81, a French actor known best to American audiences for his role as a mysterious murder victim in Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Man Who Knew Too Much,” died Friday at the Georges Pompidou European hospital in Paris. France-Info radio attributed his death to kidney failure.

Gelin had a 60-year career as an actor, primarily in French theater, television and movies. He was known for his eclectic choice of roles, from Napoleon in a 1955 film to a grumpy husband in the French television series “Les Saintes Cheries.”

English-language audiences knew him best for Hitchcock’s “The Man Who Knew Too Much” (1956). He played a Frenchman who befriends Jimmy Stewart’s character, an American vacationing in Morocco. Gelin’s character is stabbed at a street market -- but before he dies, he tells Stewart of an assassination plot.

Born in Angers, France, Gelin attended the Paris Conservatory. He wrote several books of poems, and is the father of producer Xavier Gelin and actress Maria Schneider.