French film director, producer, and scriptwriter. In 1960 he became the first film director to be elected to the Académie Française. He was also appointed Grand Officier de la Légion d'honneur. Born in Paris, Clair began his career as a journalist before turning to films in 1919. When he was twenty-five he directed and wrote his first film, Paris qui dort (1924; The Crazy Ray), having acted in several films and been assistant director to Jacques de Barnocelli in Brussels. Films that followed included Entr'acte (1924), Le Voyage imaginaire (1926), and Un Chapeau de paille d'Italie (1927; The Italian Straw Hat). His international reputation firmly established, he made his first sound film, Sous les toits de Paris (1930). À nous la liberté (1931), said to have inspired Chaplin's Modern Times, was among the notable films that followed. In Britain he made The Ghost Goes West (1935), for Alexander Korda, and in Hollywood he made such films as Flame of New Orleans (1941) with Marlene Dietrich and It Happened Tomorrow (1944) with Dick Powell (1904–63). Among the memorable films he made on his return to France were Les Grandes Manoeuvres (1955), Porte des Lilas (1956), and Tout l'or du monde (1960). As an author he published novels and memoirs as well as books on the cinema, including Réflexion faite (1951) and Cinéma d'hier, cinéma d'aujourd'hui (1970).
From Who's Who in the Twentieth Century in Oxford Reference.
Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).