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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