Jean DeBriac

born: 15 August 1891
Paris,
France
died: 18 October 1970
Los Angeles, California,
United States of America
(age 79)

French actor. In the French-language version of "Blotto" he coached Stan and Ollie on their dialogue. It has been alleged he is the father of twin sons Raymond DeBriac and Charles DeBriac, but research by ANM's researcher Jim Jarvis has proven this to be false. Jean was in fact, their uncle.
Jean DeBriac was born in Paris as "Frederic-Jean" Weitler (1891) and Jules Epailly was born (1884 or '86) in Alsace Lorraine as "Jean-Conrad" Weitler. They had the same Father, Conrad Weitler, but different Mothers because of a divorce in 1889. Frederic used the name Jean DeBriac and legally changed it in 1924 with his US Citizenship. Conrad used the name Jules Epailly after his step-Mom since age 5, Louise Epailly, possibly an opera singer. The Marriage Banns list the German-born father as "homme de lettres" (man of letters): he is mentioned as a theater writer or newspaperman or actor. Young Conrad and his English wife (Gertrude) immigrated to the US about 1910. The younger (single) Jean immigrated to the US in 1915 after an honorable discharge from the French Army and a recuperation from his wounds at his Mom's in Brazil. The Mom and a sister, Elizabeth, had moved to Rio de Janiero, Brazil when WWI broke out in Europe. More about Jules Epailly at Charles and Raymond DeBriac.
The half-brothers were prolific stage actors in Europe before the war and could also sing, dance, play and compose music. One of Jean's "claims-to-fame" was that he played leading man to Sarah Bernhardt for 7 years. Both brothers were multi-lingual and depending upon which newspaper blurb you read, Jules spoke 6 or 7 or 9 languages! In the US, Jean gravitated to Hollywood and movies and Jules stayed mainly with the theater and New York City but not exclusively for either.
Jean arrived in NYC from Brazil on Nov.19, 1915. In Oct. 1917, he married Hildegarde ______? in St. Louis. Two weeks later she was arrested "on a serious charge" and told Jean that she was in love with another man. They separated 6 months later and she illegally "married" the other guy. He finally applied for an annulment of the marriage in 1925, where this information comes from.
In Dec. of 1933 in St. Louis, he married Naomi Sachs Fielding (1897-1989), widow of well-known actor and producer Romaine Fielding (1868-1927). After another 2 years in St. Louis, Jean and Naomi moved back to LA where their daughter, Marie Louise, was born in May 1935.
In July of 1947, Jean went to France to visit relatives and search for Henri Turmel. Back in 1914, he and Henri were the only 2 survivors of the 39th French Infantry Regiment (3,000 men) who were killed in the First Battle of the Marne. Jean was a musician, according to his US WWI Draft Card. He continued acting into the early 1960's television.
Real name: Frederick Weitler
Height: 5'6" (1915 passenger list arr. NYC)
Height: 5'8" (1924 passport application)
Height: 5'9½" (WWII draft reg. card)
Films listed on this page: complete Hal Roach filmography;
plus 1 film with Laurel & Hardy.

7
(2)


1930
Blotto
Shopkeeper

1930
La Vida Nocturna 
Shopkeeper

1931
Be Big!
Lodge member

1931
Les Carottiers 
Cookie

1935
Manhattan Monkey Business
Head waiter

1939
Topper Takes A Trip
Hotel staff

1940
A Chump At Oxford
[Extended version only]
Pierre
NON-HAL ROACH FILMS

1944
Nothing But Trouble
French restauranteur

Acknowledgements & sources:
https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_De_Briac (1891 Aug: (see note #4): Weitler Family birth sources) https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?_phsrc=rEx19&_phstart=successSource&usePUBJs=true&indiv=1&dbid=7488&gsln=weitler&gsln_x=1&_83004003-n_xcl=f&msbdy=1891&msbdm=8&msbdd=15&msbpn__ftp=france&msbpn=5087&msady=1915&msadm=11&msapn__ftp=new%20york,%20usa&msapn=35&_F0005959=verdi&new=1&rank=1&uidh=1c2&redir=false&msT=1&gss=angs-d&pcat=40&fh=0&h=4028901404&recoff=&ml_rpos=1 (1915 Nov arr NYC: ht.5'6")
https://www.newspapers.com/image/74641236/?terms=BRIAC (1916 Sep: Boston: acted with Bernhardt: war record)
https://www.newspapers.com/image/430632496/?terms=BRIAC (1916 Oct: Boston: short bio)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:29JV-JL5 (1917 Jun: US WWI Draft: 1 yr French Army musician)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:KXBL-888 (1917 Jun: US WWI Draft: brother Jules Weitler: born Alsace)
https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=3998&h=904692795&tid=&pid=&usePUB=true&_phsrc=MgZ25&_phstart=successSource (1917 Nov: NY Citizenship Petition: wife Hildegarde)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99D3-GSCS-7?i=90&cc=2185145 (1924 Sep: passport: name change to De Briac)
https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=7488&h=2000751656&tid=&pid=&usePUB=true&_phsrc=rTm3&_phstart=successSource (1925 Mar: Mom Epailly & sis visit LA. https://www.newspapers.com/image/381037971/?terms=briac (1925 Oct: marriage annulment appl)
https://www.newspapers.com/image/172806727/?terms=EPAILLY (1929 Dec: enhanced bio of Bro Jules Epailly)
https://search.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/sse.dll?viewrecord=1&r=an&db=MOmarriages&indiv=try&h=515389 (1933 Dec: marriage Naomi Sachs Fielding)
https://www.newspapers.com/image/380714442/?terms=briac (1935 May: daughter born LA)
https://www.newspapers.com/image/355571051/?terms=%22de%2Bbriac%22 (1947 Jul: to visit France: search for comrade)
https://wiki2.org/en/Jean_De_Briac (1970 Wiki bio: films)
https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VPJW-L67 (1970 Oc 18: LA death :CADI)
https://www.newspapers.com/image/145653629/?terms=epailly&match=2 (1920 Oct.: Bro Jules speaks 7 languages)
https://www.ibdb.com/broadway-cast-staff/jules-epailly-67438 (1967 Bro Jules Epailly NY acting record)
Jim Jarvis (extensive research and help)

This page was last updated on: 17 September 2019