16 March 2015

André Berger

Not all film careers are successful. Today, Belgian stage actor and director André Berger (1913-1977), who had a distinctive career in the Belgian theatre but appeared in only one film.

André Berger
Belgian postcard by P.E. (Photo Édition), no. 95. Photo: Studio Verhassel.

Single Luck

André Berger was born as Laurens van Drielen in Belgium in 1913.

In 1944, he played the lead of Simon in the Belgian production Les Invités de huit heures/The 8 O'Clock Guests (Gaston Schoukens, 1944). This crime film is based on an early novel by Thomas Owen about two murders committed during a party.

The murder mystery featured local entertainers from Brussels like Charles Gontier, André Gevrey, Robert Murat, and Michèle Orley. The Dutch website Cinema.nl calls the acting 'stiff' and the result 'disastrous', and Berger stayed a case of single luck.

In the cinema, not on stage. After the war, Berger became quite a big name in the world of Belgian theatre, both as an actor and director. He appeared in such plays as Jean Racine's tragedy Andromaque (1947-1948), Sophocles' Oedipus the King (1947-1948), and Pierre Corneille's Polyeucte Martyr (1948-1949). He continued to act till 1972.

André Berger died in 1977 in Bruxelles (Brussels), Belgium.

In an interview with senior Belgian stage actress Suzie (or Suzy) Falk at L'avenir, she remembers him dearly. As a young girl she took acting lessons from André Berger, just after the war. She describes him as a “wonderful Belgian actor, magnificent man, big green eyes, outstanding voice”.

André Berger
Belgian postcard by P.E. (Photo Édition), no. 95. Photo: Menestret.

Sources: Les gens du cinema (French), Jean-Christophe Herminaire (L'avenir - French), Archives & Musée de la litterature (French), Cinema.nl (Dutch) and IMDb. Thanks to Marlene Pilate for her research and suggestions.

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