Gabriel Gabrio

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Gabriel Gabrio
Édouard Gabriel Lelièvre

(1887-01-13)13 January 1887
Died31 October 1946(1946-10-31) (aged 59)
Nationality French
Years active1920–1943

Gabriel Gabrio (born Édouard Gabriel Lelièvre; 13 January 1887 – 31 October 1946) [1] was a French stage and film actor whose career began in cinema in the silent film era of the 1920s and spanned more than two decades. Gabrio is possibly best remembered for his roles as Jean Valjean in the 1925 Henri Fescourt-directed adaptation of Victor Hugo's Les Misérables , Cesare Borgia in the 1935 Abel Gance-directed biopic Lucrèce Borgia and as Carlos in the 1937 Julien Duvivier-directed gangster film Pépé le Moko , opposite Jean Gabin.



Early years

Gabriel Gabrio was born Édouard Gabriel Lelièvre in Reims, [1] France as the youngest of sixteen children. Gabrio's father worked for the Pommeray Champagne cellars. At a young age he developed a keen interest in puppet theater. As a teen, Gabrio grew to an impressive height of 6 feet 2 inches [2] and after a stint as an apprentice glass window painter, set his sights on a career as a stage actor.

At the out break of World War I, the blue-eyed [2] Gabrio enlisted in the French Army and served four years during the hostilities. After being demobilized, Gabrio relocated to Paris where he performed in such theaters as the Gaîté Rochechouart, the Théâtre des Ambassadeurs, the Comédie Montaigne and the Odéon in roles by George Bernard Shaw and William Shakespeare, among others.

Film career

Gabrio made his film debut in the 1920 Germaine Dulac-directed film La fête espagnole (English release title: Spanish Fiesta). In 1924 he was cast by film director Henri Fescourt to appear as Jean Valjean, the literary protagonist in the film adaptation of the Victor Hugo novel Les Misérables whose twenty-year-long struggle with the law for stealing bread during a time of economic and social depression is chronicled. Gabrio's appearance in the film catapulted him to stardom.

In 1927, Gabrio began appearing in international films, such as 1927's Georg Jacoby-directed German film Der Faschingskönig, and in 1929 Gabrio made his first and only English language talkie The Inseparables, directed by Adelqui Migliar and John Stafford.

Gabrio's career flourished in France into the 1930s and is possibly best recalled for his roles such as Carlos, the gangster cohort of actor Jean Gabin's character Pépé le Moko in the 1937 film directed by Julien Duvivier. The film would become an international success and remade in America in 1938 as Algiers , starring Charles Boyer and Hedy Lamarr, and again in 1948 as a musical entitled Casbah , starring Tony Martin and Yvonne de Carlo.

As the 1940s began and Europe was thrust into the World War II, Gabriel Gabrio's film career remained intact in war-torn France. In 1942 he appeared in the Marcel Carné-directed and Jacques Prévert and Pierre Laroche-penned Les Visiteurs du Soir as the executioner, opposite Arletty and Marie Déa. The film, which debuted on 5 December 1942 during the Nazi occupation of France, is an allegory of the eternal struggle between good and evil as fourteenth-century lovers defy the Devil. The film was released under the English title The Devil's Envoys to American audiences in 1947.


In 1943 Gabrio's health declined and he retired into the village of Berchères-sur-Vesgre in Eure-et-Loir. He died there in 1946 at age 59. The village has since named a street after him in his honor.

Partial filmography

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  1. 1 2 "Alice. Cinéma: Gabriel Gabrio - Acteur - France - (1887 - 1946)". Archived from the original on 2007-08-15. Retrieved 2009-06-01.
  2. 1 2 Gabriel Gabrio at the New York Times Movies