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Jerome Savary, 70; icon of French theater

Mr. Savary led the Opera Comique and the Theatre National de Chaillot.

Manuel H. De Leon/EPA/file 2008

Mr. Savary led the Opera Comique and the Theatre National de Chaillot.

PARIS — Jerome Savary, a director who broadened the appeal of theater to French audiences and helped popularize musicals, has died at age 70.

Known for joyous, entertaining productions, the prolific Mr. Savary staged everything from ­Shakespeare to a play about comic book hero Asterix.

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He also embraced musical theater, considered an Anglo-Saxon genre.

Mr. Savary’s name was synonymous with theater in France after a career that included leading two Parisian theatrical institutions, the Opera Comique and the Theatre National de Chaillot.

The Compagnie Jerome Savary said March 5 that he died March 4 after struggling with cancer.

Born in Argentina, Mr. Savary lived in New York in the 1960s, according to his company’s website.

His maternal grandfather, Frank Higgins, was the governor of New York in the early 20th century.

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