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Claude Chabrol, French New Wave Pioneer, Dies

The critic-turned-director and producer was 80; no cause of death was given

Claude Chabrol, pioneer of the French New Wave. He died Sunday at 80. Claude Chabrol, the French critic-turned-director who pioneered the French New Wave as one of its more mainstream practitioners, died Sunday in Paris. He was 80.

Chabrol's death was announced by Christophe Girard, chief cultural affairs officer for Paris. No cause was given. 

A pharmacology student in Paris after World War II, Chabrol met contemporaries such as Jean-Luc Godard, Francois Truffaut, EricRohmer, Jacques Rivette while writing film criticism for Cahiers du cinéma in the 1950s.

In 1958, using money from his wife's inheretance, he directed his feature debut, "La Beau Serge." The film, inspired by his hero Alfred Hitchcock, is considered among the first New Wave films and was a critical success.

He followed that with "Les Cousins," a commercial success — one of the first for the genre. Chabrol went on to become the most prolific of the New Wave directors, creating several suspense thrillers in the Hitchcock tradition during the late 1960s and early 70s.