Andreas Voustinas: Actor and teacher who worked with Mel Brooks and Jane Fonda

Andreas Voutsinas appeared in three films by Mel Brooks and coached many actors including Jane Fonda and Warren Beatty.

Born in Khartoum, Voutsinas studied at the Actors Studio in New York where he worked with director Elia Kazan. The following year he appeared in Kazan's Broadway premiere of Archibald MacLeish's JB, a drama about a travelling circus. In 1962 he was back on Broadway, this time as a director, in charge of Neil Jansen and John Haase's comedy The Fun Couple. The cast included Jane Fonda but it folded after three performances. By now Voutsias was Fonda's acting coach, and perhaps more.



Voutsinas was having difficulty making the leap from stage to screen but he knew Anne Bancroft, whose future husband Mel Brooks was developing The Producers. Among the film's host of grotesque cameos was the bizarrely bearded and incredibly camp Carmen Ghia, the "personal assistant" of transvestite theatre director Roger De Bris. Bancoft suggested Voutsinas. He followed the instruction to "look like Rasputin and act like Marilyn Monroe". Doing his own make-up took around three hours a day and he arrived on set early to rehearse, but found being immersed in the role relaxing. But when the film came out in 1968, Voutsinas was horrified and thought he would never work in America again. He relocated to Europe though made occasional forays back to the US.



In France he took a small role in "Metzengerstein", a segment of Histoires extraordinaires (1968), adapted from the stories of Edgar Allan Poe, directed by Roger Vadim and starring Jane Fonda and her brother, Peter. He also started the Théatre des cinquante, an acting school in the Lee Strasberg mould.



In 1970 Brooks called him back to appear in his adaptation of Ilf and Petrov's The Twelve Chairs, one of Brooks's undeservedly lesser-known efforts. Ten years later he played the camp Bearnaise in Brooks' French Revolution section of The History of the World: Part I.



While continuing to teach, he appeared in a series of European films, though most of them didn't travel. He also turned up in lesser-known works by well-known directors. In 1978 he appeared in the blacklisted Jules Dassin's A Dream of Passion and in 1984 had a role in Sam Fuller's noir-nouvelle vague Les voleurs de la nuit. In 1988 came one of his few high-profile titles, playing the priest in Luc Besson's The Big Blue.

Andreas Voutsinas, actor and teacher: born Khartoum 22 August 1932; died Athens 8 June 2010.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
News
Jermain Defoe got loads of custard
i100
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Helpdesk Team Leader / Manager

£45000 per annum + pension,medical: Ashdown Group: A successful & reputable gl...

IT Systems Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

IT Project Manager

£35000 per annum + £5k bonus, car: Ashdown Group: A successful business that h...

IT Infrastructure Project Manager

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A large and well established business is look...

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition
Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes