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Émile Genest

Émile Genest
Born July 27, 1921
Quebec City, Quebec
Died March 19, 2003(2003-03-19) (aged 81)

Émile Genest (July 27, 1921 – March 19, 2003) was a Canadian actor.


Born in Quebec City, Quebec, as a young man Émile Genest served with the Royal Canadian Navy during World War II. At war's end, he worked for a time in radio in his hometown before accepting a job with CBC radio in Montreal where he would eventually become a sportscaster, working in both the French and English languages.

Genest turned to acting and in his early years played a son on the immensely popular French-language radio show, The Plouffe Family and on its follow-up television series. In 1961 he had a significant role in the first of several films for Walt Disney Pictures. The first was Nikki, Wild Dog of the North followed by 1962's Big Red with Walter Pidgeon and the following year he was cast in the lead of The Incredible Journey that was remade by Disney in 1993 as Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey. Moving to Hollywood, Émile Genest went on to play a number of character roles in a variety of films including the Steve McQueen film, The Cincinnati Kid (1965), The King's Pirate (1967), In Enemy Country (1968), The Hell with Heroes (1968), and the Robert Wagner comedy Don't Just Stand There (1968). His son, Claude Genest, was born in 1963 in Hollywood and too worked as an actor before becoming an ecological activist.

In the early 1960s Émile Genest turned to performing on television, appearing in a large number of guest roles in a variety of series such as Mission: Impossible, Route 66, Gunsmoke, Combat!, Perry Mason, The Virginian, Ironside and others. Near the end of the 1970s, Genest returned to work in film in Canada. In 1981, he was cast as the head of the family in a four-hour film update of the "The Plouffe Family" for which he was nominated for a Genie Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role.

In 2000, at the age of seventy-nine, Émile Genest appeared in his last film. He died of a heart attack while vacationing in Hallendale, Florida in 2003.

His elder son is Green Party of Canada unelected politician Claude Genest. His second son, Eric Genest, is the Vice President of Group Alta Real Estate, Inc. He is married to Cornelia Huerlimann; they have two children.

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