Robert Le Vigan (Robert Charles Alexandre Coquillaud)
Robert Le Vigan appeared in many classic French films of the late 1930s and early 1940s like Port of Shadows (1938) and It Happened at the Inn (1943) but his career was curtailed at the Liberation because of his overt fascism. Up to the mid-1930s his career was quite undistinguished until Behold the Man (1935) were he portrayed Jesus Christ. This role earned him many praises and established him as a sought-after character player. Read more... and advocated total collaboration with the German authorities. In 1944, he was chosen to appear in Children of Paradise (1945) filmed in the Victorine studios near Nice; but abandoned the film as the Allies landed in Sicily (he was replaced by Pierre Renoir). Back in Paris, he was forced to flee once more as the French capital was about to be liberated in August 1944. Alongside his friend, the fascist author 'Louis-Ferdinand Céline', he sought refuge in Germany where he met up with the collaborationist press tycoon Jean Luchaire and his daughter, actress Corinne Luchaire. He was arrested as he was trying to cross the Swiss border and sent back to France where he was incarcerated at Fresnes prison (near Paris). At his trial, on 12th November 1946, his ex-colleagues Jean-Louis Barrault, Madeleine Renaud and director Julien Duvivier, amongst others, gave evidence for the defence and tried to prove that Le Vigan was only a weak creature led astray by Céline. Despite these appeals for clemency, Le Vigan was sentenced to ten years hard labour. He also lost his civil rights as a French citizen and all his assets were confiscated. After three years in a labour camp, he was released on parole and escaped to Spain, then onto Argentina, where he lived in poverty until his death in 1972.