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THE DISTINGUISHED actor Jean Richard appeared in 80 films, but it was for his portrayal of the pipe-smoking detective Maigret in the French television series based on Georges Simenon's books that he became a household name in France.
He had started out as a cartoonist, however, and later developed talents as a cabaret performer and music hall star, as well as becoming the first private zoo owner in France and a theme park operator. He also brought about a spectacular revival of the circus industry in his native country. He also found the time to write three books, Mes betes a moi (1969), Envoyez les lions! (1971) and his autobiography, Ma vie sans filet (1984).