Biography

Silver-haired Belgian leading man Victor Francen was the son of a police commissioner. Upon embarking on an acting career, Francen toured the provinces of Europe, Russia, Canada and South America before joining the Comedie Francaise. After a stop-and-go silent film career, in 1931, Francen established himself as a leading man of French films. Some of his best work was under the direction of innovative filmmaker Abel Gance, who inspired Francen to expand his emotional range to the breaking point in such films as The End of the World (1931) and J'Accuse (1937). When the Nazis marched into Paris in 1940, Francen moved to the United States. He found himself much in demand as a worldly continental type in Hollywood, often as a villain, spy or schemer; in keeping with the tenor of his roles, Francen's acting style became heavier (as did the actor himself). Victor Francen closed off the Hollywood phase of his career with 1961's Fanny, making one final film appearance in the French La Grande Frousse before retiring in 1964. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi