Jess Hahn

Actor

Indiana-born Jess Hahn never played in an American movie, at least shot on American soil. On the other hand, this friendly giant with a nice sense of humor was a fixture in French movies where he often landed roles as a tough gangster or a Yankee (whether an army officer, a C.I.A./F.B.I. agent or an expatriated John Doe). Adored by French and (unfortunately) by campy Italian directors, he was in more than ninety movies and appeared twenty-odd times on French television. He could have made it in art film thanks to his wonderful performance as the tramp in Eric Rohmer's "Le Signe du Lion" but was ignored by other "serious-minded" directors. On the contrary, and oddly enough to be sure, the quality of the film he was in declined dramatically after 1966, which was not doing justice to his wonderful screen presence. He also acted in ten theater plays. Whatever the case, the public loved him, although not knowing his name. In the mid seventies, a bit disappointed with his career, he preferred working on his farm near Dinan in Brittany, acting only occasionally. He died in Saint Malo hospital, forgotten by the film profession but not by TV or DVD viewers who still nowadays worship Nénesse from "Les grandes Gueules" or "La Douceur" (quite a misnomer!) from"Cartouche".

Actor

Cartouche