Hervé Villechaize was born in Paris on April 23, 1943. He stopped growing very early and his father (who was a surgeon) tried to find a cure by visiting several doctors and hospitals. But there was none, so Hervé had to live with his small height and also with undersized lungs. He studied at the Beaux-Arts in Paris and made an exhibition of his own paintings, which were well received. At 21, he left France for the USA where he continued to paint and to make photographs. He also started to participate in some movies and was quickly offered several roles for plays and then for cinema. His first big success was The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) where he was a killer associated to the villain Scaramanga (played by Christopher Lee). He inspired the TV-series "Fantasy Island" (1977) where he took the role of "Tattoo", the faithful servant of "Mr. Roarke" (Ricardo Montalban). This series was a great success and, thanks to it, Villechaize became famous and rich, mostly because of his enigmatic and charming smile.
In 1983, he argued with the producers of the show in order to earn as much money as Montalban but, instead, he was fired; he also lost his model-actress wife. The series continued without him but stopped one year later, when the media response meter decreased because of the lack of Tattoo's character!
Villechaize became alcoholic and depressed, so he missed several roles that he was offered. His health problems also increased (mostly suffering from ulcers and a spastic colon), and he nearly died of pneumonia in 1992. On the afternoon of Saturday September 4th, 1993, after having watched a movie, he wrote a note and made a tape recording before shooting himself in his backyard. His common-law wife, Kathy Self, discovered his body and called the ambulance which took him to the Medical Center of North Hollywood where he died at 3:40 pm. Villechaize was cremated and his ashes were scattered off Point Fermin, in Los Angeles.
|Camille Hagen||(5 September 1980 - 3 November 1982) (divorced)|
|Anne Sadowski||(1970 - 2 February 1979) (divorced)|
Committed suicide in North Hollywood, California. Died of self-inflicted gunshot wound.
He lived in North Hollywood on W. Killion Street.
Famous for the line "The plane! The plane!" that he said in each episode of "Fantasy Island" (1977) with his French accent.
Was of Filipino ancestry.
The reason for his suicide was not career woes, as is commonly believed, but because he was in nearly constant pain as his body aged. While small externally, his internal organs were of normal size, and crowded each other over the years. In his last months, he had to sleep in a kneeling position, because lying down made it impossible to breathe.
Became involved with children's charities during his heyday, including opening a halfway house for runaways and troubled youths. He enjoyed helping children, who found it easy to relate to him because of his height.
Used to share a room with actor/director/writer Matthew Bright.
Was friends with Mary Woronov.
Best remembered by the public for his role as "Tattoo" in the TV series "Fantasy Island" (1977).
Adopted at the age of two by his stepfather, Andre Villechaize, according to his common law wife Kathy Self. Herve's biological father is unknown.
Due to his resemblance to Felipe González (former president of Spain between 1984-1996), Herve parodied him in a well known Spanish TV show called "Viaje con nosotros" (1988). In Spain he is still known as "Felipe Gonzalez's double".
|"Fantasy Island" (1977)||$25,000 per episode|
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