Bourvil still remains one of the leading faces of comedy today. Since his death on September 23, 1970, the actor who disappeared at the age of 53 often returns to television through the multiple reruns of his films. Like France 3 which chose to show one of its last appearances on the big screen.
This Monday, June 5, the third public service channel offers viewers to (re) see The Atlantic Wall, directed by filmmaker Marcel Camus and released in cinemas in 1970. A comedy in which Bourvil plays Léon Duchemin, a peaceful Norman restaurateur who despite himself becomes a hero of the Resistance during the Second World War. The French actor notably gave the reply to the British actor Peter McEnery (playing the parachuted officer Jeff) and Sophie Desmarets (his daughter Maria).
A classic film, inspired by a real story, which will be one of the last successes in Bourvil’s career. However, this great friend of Louis de Funès and partner of Jean Marais experienced real ordeal during this filming. Indeed, the father of Dominique and Philippe Raimbourg had been fighting for several years against Kahler’s disease, a cancer of the bone marrow.
Preferring to suffer in silence, André Raimbourg continued to work with the teams who took care to spare him in his efforts. “What he liked in life was to work. It was to be an actor, to play comedy”, evoked one of his sons born from his union with his wife Jeanne Lefrique, in the JT of France 2 in 2020. “Being able to continue was also a way of helping recovery, even if it didn’t work”.
But it was also for another reason that Bourvil had taken care to hide his illness. “He was afraid that insurance would prevent him from acting. He also shot his last films with producers who agreed not to be covered by insurance,” said Dominique, his eldest son and criminal lawyer, in the pages of Le Parisien.
According to comments quoted by our colleagues from the Télé-Loisirs site, the famous comedian mentioned in an interview with the JT, May 29, 1970. “I have good health, I do a job that I like, I have two wonderful children. , a woman who is an extraordinary mother… what more do you want? Money, I have enough to live on […] When I’m old, I won’t have to ask anyone for anything. If with that, I was not happy, I would be slapped!”. Bourvil will never see the final result of the film since four months later, he passed away peacefully surrounded by his relatives in Paris.