Pierre Tornade, the voice of “Obelix,” dead at 82

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Pierre Tornade

Pierre Tornade

French comedic actor Pierre Tornade, the voice of chubby best friend Obelix in many Asterix cartoon movies, died Wednesday morning. He was 82.

Tornade died at 7 a.m. in Rambouillet hospital after several days in a coma, said his daughter, comedienne Michel Melki. He had fallen accidentally in the stairway of his Yvelines residence last week and had been comatose since then, she said.

Tornade appeared in 128 films and TV shows between 1956 and 1998. He voiced Obelix in Astérix Et Cléopâtre (Asterix and Cleopatra; 1968), Astérix et la Surprise de César (Asterix vs. Caesar; 1985), Asterix Chez Les Bretons (Asterix in Britain; 1986), Asterix Et Le Coup Du Menhir(Asterix and the Big Fight, 1989) and Asterix In Amerika(Asterix Conquers America; 1994).

He even moonlighted as village chief Abraracourcix in Astérix le Gaulois (Asterix and the Gauls; 1967) and Les 12 Travaux d’Asterix (The Twelve Tasks of Asterix; 1976).

Tornade portrayed Averell Dalton in Rene Goscinny’s cartoon Western movies Daisy Town(1971) and La Ballade des Dalton (1978), and was in the voice cast of the TV special Lucky Luke, Les Dalton en Cavale (Lucky Luke The Lucky Cowboy; 1983).

In live action, Tornade was frequently a second banana, often appearing as a policeman or soldier. He appeared in the movie Le Gendarme à New York with Louis de Funès. On TV, he was commissioner Florimond Faroux in the series Nestor Burma.

He was born Pierre Tournadre in Bort-les-Orgues, Corrèze. He began his theatrical career at 25, joining Robert Dhéry’s Branquignols troupe, which also included Jean Lefèvre, Michel Serrault, Jacqueline Maillan and Micheline Dax.

First appearing in movies in Carlo Rim’s Les Truands (The Gangsters), Tornade continued on the big screen non-stop in nearly 80 roles until the end of the 1980s.

Yves Boisset’s Dupont Lajoie (1975) marked Tornade’s first dramatic role, portraying a racist.

No date has yet been set for a funeral service.

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