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American-Born Actor Eddie Constantine Dead at Age 75

February 28, 1993

BERLIN (AP) _ American-born actor Eddie Constantine, who found fame in Europe playing American tough guys in a string of films, is dead at age 75.

Public television station ZDF said Constantine died Thursday from a heart attack. He had lived in Weisbaden since 1978 with his third wife, former ZDF editor Maja Faber-Janssen.

Constantine was one of the first big stars of the postwar period in Europe and was most famous for his role as FBI agent Lemmy Caution in such 1950s films as ″FBI Seeks Lemmy Caution″ ″Hot Lips - Cold Steel″ and ″In Blonde Satan’s Spell.″

His trademarks were a cigarette dangling from his lip, a glass of whiskey in his hand and and a beautiful woman, usually blonde, on his arm. His wise- cracking, anti-hero image was emulated by a generation of European actors.

He also starred in the futuristic science fiction classic ″Alphaville″ from 1965.

His career tailed off after that but revived with the rise of new German filmmakers in the 1970s. He starred in Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s 1975 film ″Beware of a Holy Whore.″

Constantine was also a popular cabaret singer and often said music was his first love.

Constantine was born in Los Angeles in 1917 to Russian and Polish immigrants. He studied music for two years at the Vienna Conservatory and then studied voice in New York.

Starting out as a singer, he was discovered in Paris by film director Bernard Borderie, who described the craggy-faced Constantine as ″a fellow with the face of a sympathetic rogue″ and cast him as Lemmy Caution, his breakthrough role.

Constantine became a French citizen, and his career was almost exclusively European. He starred in German television dramas in the 1970s and 1980s and was the subject of a recent film retrospective in Germany.

In addition to his wife, Constantine is survived by a 12-year-old daughter, Mia Bella Marie.

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