Family outraged at decision to exhume Yves Montand

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The Independent Online
A decision to exhume the body of entertainer Yves Montand to conduct a belated paternity test drew heated reaction yesterday from the singer's loved ones.

A Paris court ruled that Montand's body would be dug up from its grave in Pere Lachaise cemetery so that a DNA test, that he refused to submit to while alive, could be made. The posthumous testing, a first in France, is to take place before 30 June, 1998, according to news reports.

"It's horrible," Montand's adopted daughter, Catherine Allegret, said on French radio. "This poor old man ... they're going to take him out of his box and slice him up."

Montand was for decades one of France's best loved crooners, making famous the song "Les Feuilles Mortes", later translated into English as "Autumn Leaves". He also was a cabaret-style entertainer who evolved into a serious actor with his performance in Costa-Gravas' movie State of Siege.

Montand, who died of a massive heart attack in 1991, had refused repeatedly to undergo the testing to settle a paternity suit filed by a young French woman, Aurore Drossard, who claimed to be his illegitimate daughter. Aurore is now 22. At the time, Montand was married to actress Simone Signoret, and the couple had no children.

- Reuters, Paris