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Cyrano de Bergerac

Savinio Cyrano de Bergerac (March 6, 1619 - July 28, 1655) was a French dramatist, who is now best remembered for the many works of fiction which have been woven around his life story.

Cyrano de Bergerac was not a hugely talented writer, but was expert in the art of duelling, this being the result of many gibes about his appearance. He had an exceptionally large nose, and is said to have fought over a thousand duels during his military service.

In 1897, the French poet, Edmond Rostand, published a play, Cyrano de Bergerac, on the subject of Cyrano's life. This play, by far Rostand's most successful work, concentrates on Cyrano's love for the beautiful Roxane (note original spelling), whom he is obliged to woo on behalf of a more conventionally handsome but less articulate friend.

The play has been translated and performed many times, and has been the subject of several films, including a 1950 film starring José Ferrer (for which he won an Oscar), a 1990 French-language version starring Gerard Depardieu and a comedic Hollywood version, Roxanne, starring Steve Martin.