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PARIS: Tragedy struck France’s small screen industry on Friday with the death of 48 year-old TV personality Jean-Luc Delarue.
Delarue died overnight on Thursday after a battle with stomach cancer. The TV host and producer, most famous for his programs on public TV network France 2, had announced his illness last December.
Born in Paris, Delarue hosted radio station Europe 1’s “Top 50” program before branching out into TV on Canal Plus then on France 2. He hosted and produced “Ca se Discute” via his production company Reservoir Prod, also the company behind several popular Gallic TV programs on France Televisions, TF1 and M6. The TV heavyweight’s image was tarnished in 2010 when he was arrested that September for cocaine possession and ousted from his post at France 2.
Delarue also faced public scrutiny when he aggressed a flight attendant on an Air France flight in 2007 and made remarks to director Yamina Benguigui about her breasts at the 2009 Globes du Cristal ceremony that set off a media kerfuffle at the time.
The French media industry expressed emotion on Friday as TV execs and personalities headed back to the office after a long summer vacation to ring in the new TV season with bittersweet sentiment. TV personality and producer Laurence Ferrari said: “He was a work addict, someone who worked for 12 – 15 hours per day, he loved it and, beyond his job, he loved people (…) He was profoundly human, hyper-sensitive, criticized, but full of life and an incredible work ethic.”
“He wasn’t an angel and he never pretended to be an angel,” French radio and TV star and producer Marc-Olivier Fogiel said on Friday adding: “He also brought a way of producing, a way of creating, a way of working to television, different than what had come before. And that was quite innovative in television.”
TV and radio host and producer Christophe Dechavanne said: “He was a brilliant guy …very funny…he was a bit cracked, but who isn’t in this crazy line of work?”
Despite his illness, Delarue married former model Anissa Khel last May and told Gala magazine in December: “I’ve never been as sick and, paradoxically, as happy.”
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