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Claude Pieplu, at 83; acted on stage and TV in France

PARIS -- Actor Claude Pieplu, who often portrayed the average French man in his six decades on stage and screen but is perhaps best remembered for serving as the voice in a much-loved television cartoon, has died, his family said yesterday. He was 83.

Mr. Pieplu, who died at Sainte-Perine Hospital in Paris, appeared in more than 70 movies and numerous plays during his career. But it was his behind-the-scenes role as the voice in the cartoon ``Shadoks," the name of droll birdlike creatures from another planet, that made Mr. Pieplu a star in France.

His unusual high-pitched voice set Mr. Pieplu apart in all his roles and embodied the improbable creatures with a singular logic of the ``Shadoks" cartoons, which were aired on television starting in 1968.

Born May 10, 1923, in Paris, Claude Leon Auguste Pieplu spent six years as a bank employee before turning to acting.

He made his stage debut in 1945, and had his first movie role three years later. While occasionally playing serious roles, as he did in Constantin Costa-Gavras's ``Section Speciale" (``Special Section") in 1974, Mr. Pieplu was best known for portraying the average French man.

He worked with noted directors such as Luis Bunuel (``The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie," 1972), and continued into an advanced age, acting in Claude Zidi's 1999 movie ``Asterix et Obelix contre Cesar" (``Asterix and Obelix Against Cesar").

With his recognizable voice, Mr. Pieplu ``became for each of us a familiar figure," said Veronique Cayla, head of the national Center for Cinematography.

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