Hervé Villechaize Biography
Hervé Villechaize was a French actor and painter born on April 23, 1943, in Nazi-occupied Paris, France. Born with dwarfism due to an endocrine disorder, his father tried unsuccessfully to cure him in several institutions.
At the age of 16, Hervé Villechaize entered the École des Beaux-Arts to study art and became the youngest artist to have his work displayed in the Museum of Paris in 1961.
Villechaize moved the the US in 1964 and initially worked as an artist, painter, and photographer, and then transitioned to acting, starting with Off-Broadway productions including Werner Liepolt’s The Young Master Dante before getting into film.
Hervé Villechaize’s film career began with his first film appearance in Chappaqua in 1966, followed by Item 72-D: The Adventures of Spa and Fon in 1969. He went on to appear in several other films including The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight in 1971, Malatesta’s Carnival of Blood in 1973, Crazy Joe in 1974, and Oliver Stone’s first film, Seizure in 1974.
Villechaize’s biggest break came when he was cast as Francesco Sacramanga’s henchman Nick Nack in the Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun in 1974. He starred in a few other films afterwards, notably in Airplane II: The Sequel (1982), but is best known for his starring role in the long running American TV show Fantasy Island (1977-1984).
In the Fantasy Island series, Hervé Villechaize played character Tattoo, Mr. Roarke’s assistant, and his catchphrase “The plane! The plane!” from the show became one of its most memorable lines.
Villechaize also had smaller roles in shows Taxi and played the title role in the Rumpelstiltskin episode of Shelley Duvall’s Faerie Tale Theatre. Hervé Villechaize also recorded a single, Children of the World, with Cleveland International Records in 1980 as a vocalist.
Hervé Villechaize’s struggled with alcohol and depression, which caused him to miss out on numerous acting opportunities. He also experienced deteriorating health, including ulcers and a spastic colon, and came close to dying from pneumonia in 1992.
On September 4th, 1993, after viewing a movie, Villechaize wrote a note and recorded a tape before tragically taking his own life in his backyard. His common-law wife, Kathy Self, found his body and called for medical assistance, but he passed away at the Medical Center of North Hollywood at 3:40 pm. Villechaize was cremated, and his ashes were spread at Point Fermin in Los Angeles.