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Bernard Violet

(1949- ) 

Bernard Violet is a French investigative journalist and author who has written a number of biographies of French screen personalities.   Because of his rather iconoclastic approach to his subjects Violet has, on occasion, found himself defending his findings in the French courts.

 Such was Violets reputation that, In 1998, French actor Alain Delon attempted to prevent Violets unauthorised account of his life from being published before the author had even begun researching or writing it.    Delons case was supported by the French state prosecutor, but in November 1998 the Tribunal de Grande Instance ruled that it had no power to ban a book before a word was written.

Delons emphatic objection to Violets proposed book was due to the authors intention to investigate the actors alleged links to organised crime.   Violet counter-sued Delon for calling him potholer of dustbins and investigator of gutters, and also the publishers Grasset for passing on his 18-page synopsis of the proposed biography to Delons lawyers.   He lost both cases.

The book, Les Mystères Delon, finally hit the streets under much secrecy, on 29th September 2000.  The book’s publishers, Flammarion, had been so concerned that Delon would attempt to take out an injunction to prevent its publication that it didn’t even tell booksellers that it was shipping the biography to them.   Many of them had even been sent promotional material for a phantom biography of Jacques Chirac in a ruse to put lawyers off the scent.   The book itself was disappointingly free of any fresh revelations about the shadier aspects of Delon’s life.

 In 2009, Violet found himself once again facing legal action, this time from Catherine Deneuve, another French acting legend, over claims made in his 2007 biography about her.   In the book, Violet accused Deneuve’s father, the actor Maurice Dorleac, of being a Nazi collaborator who was paid £10,000 to read anti-Semitic and anti-English broadcasts on Radio-Paris.   The book also described Deneuve as greedy and manipulative.

 Away from cinema, Violet has also been (unsuccessfully) sued by infamous terrorist Carlos the Jackal for undermining his presumption of innocence in connection with a Paris bombing.   Violet also created mischief by accusing Jacques Cousteau of mistreating animals during the filming of some of his documentaries, and of buying some lobsters from a market in Marseilles and using them in a film about the Red Sea.

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