Joshua Rich
January 12, 2009 AT 12:00 PM EST

Claude Berri, the French movie director who gained international fame during the 1980s for the star-studded period dramas Jean de Florette and Manon of the Spring, died Monday at age 74, due to a possible stroke.

A prolific director, producer, writer, and actor, Berri worked in cinema for half a century, amassing credits on more than 125 movies, 20 as a director. In 1966, he won an Academy Award for his live action short film Le Poulet (The Chicken); in 1981, he was nominated for an Oscar as a producer of Roman Polanski’s Tess. According to the Associated Press, French President Nicolas Sarkozy remembered Berri as a “legendary figureof French cinema.”

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