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Jean-Paul Vignon death: Shrek and 500 Days of Summer voice star dies, aged 89

French actor, whose career lasted six decades, also appeared in ‘Gilmore Girls’

Jacob Stolworthy
Wednesday 03 April 2024 10:50
500 Days of Summer - Trailer

French actor and singer Jean-Paul Vignon, who had a six-decade career in the entertainment industry, has died, aged 89.

The family of the star revealed he died of liver cancer in Beverly Hills, California on 22 March.

Vignon’s later roles included voice work for films Shrek and 500 Days of Summer, but he started out working in cabaret in Paris in the 1950s after briefly studying law at the Sorbonne.

After military service stalled his career in France, he moved to the US in his late twenties. His experience opening for singer Édith Piaf aided in his booking as an opener for comedian Woody Allen at New York’s Blue Angel club.

He also made an appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, where he duetted with Liza Minnelli shortly before her film breakthrough in 1969 film The Sterile Cuckoo.

Also in the 1960s, Vignon released his first album, titled Because I Love You (1964), and made his Hollywood film debut in Second World War drama The Devil’s Brigade (1968), starring William Holden and Cliff Robertson.

Jean Pail Vignon pictured in New York in 1965 (Getty Images)

Vignon, who was one described by the Los Angeles Times as someone who “fulfilled the American image of the romantic, singing Frenchman”, continued his acting success in two episodes of Columbo, popular US soap Days of Our Lives, in which he played Monsieur Lazare, and the US series Gilmore Girls.

He lent his voice to 2001 animated film Shrek, in which he played one of Robin Hood’s Merry Men, and also a memorable scene in romantic comedy (500) Days of Summer,

Jean-Paul Vignon (Linkedin)

The scene in question occurs when the lead character, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, imagines himself in a French film, which is narrated by Vignon.

His other successes include the recording of the song “You”, which was a collaboration with Charlie’s Angels star Farrah Fawcett, and the founding of Cote d’Azur Productions, a lip-sync dubbing company.

Jean-Paul Vignon voiced one of the Merry Men in ‘Shrek’ (DreamWorkd)

Vignon is survived by his partner Suzie Summers and daughters Marguerite Vignon Gaul and Lucy Brank, whom he had with actor Brigid Bazlen, who died in 1989.

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