French-born director, screenwriter and author Jose Giovanni, who had a string of crime movie hits featuring stars including Jean-Paul Belmondo and Alain Delon, has died. He was 80.
Giovanni died Saturday of a brain hemorrhage in a clinic in Lausanne, Switzerland, funeral director Jean-Robert Decaillet told The Associated Press by telephone. He had been hospitalized since Wednesday.
Giovanni, from the Mediterranean island of Corsica, was born June 22, 1923. He moved to the Swiss Alpine village of Marecottes in the late 1960s and later was naturalized a citizen of his adopted homeland.
Giovanni â€” a member of the French resistance during World War II â€” worked as a diver, lumberjack, coal miner and mountain guide. His alleged links with a postwar criminal gang earned him a death sentence, but he was pardoned. He then turned to writing.
Giovanni launched his movie industry career in the late 1950s, scripting Du rififi chez les femmes (The Riff Raff Girls ) for director Alex Joffe in 1959.
A year later, he adapted his jailbreak novel Le Trou (The Hole ) based on his own attempted escape from a Paris prison, into the film of the same name directed by Jacques Becker. In 1969, he wrote the screenplay for Henri Verneuil’s Le Clan des Siciliens (The Sicilian Clan ) which starred Delon along with veterans Jean Gabin and Lino Ventura.0