b. 1945, Paris
Businessman and politician
Tapie was the archetypal 'Socialist' millionaire, at least until his fall from grace in 1994. The owner (among other things) of France's biggest manufacturer of sporting footwear, his support for Mitterrand (who appointed him minister with special responsibility for cities) and demolition of Jean-Marie Le Pen in a televised debate made him one of the Left's leading standard-bearers in Marseille, one of whose constituencies he represented in parliament and whose football team he owned. Disgraced successively by his involvement in match-rigging and by a spectacular bankruptcy, he began serving a prison sentence in 1997. He embarked upon a screen acting career in Claude Lelouch's Hommes, femmes: mode d'emploi (1996), for which he agreed to accept a percentage of the takings by way of payment.
See also: parties and movements; sport
b. 1903, Ain;
d. 1995, Paris
Playwright and poet
Tardieu is known for his translation of Hölderlin's poetry in the 1930s, and after the war for short absurdist plays, experimenting with language and form. These include Le Guichet (The Ticket Office), La Serrure (The Lock) and Le Sonate et les trots messieurs (The Sonata and the Three Gentlemen).
See also: theatre; Theatre of the Absurd
b. 1908, Le Pecq, Yvelines;
d. 1982, Paris
Director and actor
Tati is one of the great French comedians, with an original comic style close to mime. He made only nine films, and is best remembered for his incarnation of the accident-prone Hulot, first in