Actor turned local Francois Benard holding book reading, signing

Published: Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 04:53 PM.

In 1974, he moved to New York City and worked for Salvador Dali as a photographer and for an art director, and found some work on Broadway and in television.

"Working for Dali opened doors in New York," he said.

One door that was opened was meeting his wife Jo Ann, who was working under the screen name Lee Warrick on the soap opera "One Life to Live." He was appearing on "The Young & the Restless" at the time.

Benard moved back to France for a bit, a move that gave him his biggest commercial — for Paco Rabanne cologne.

"I was the first guy he used to advertise in his campaign and it was big at the European level with articles in every major campaign. It was sexy and won awards in all the countries. It really put me on the map. I did more than 100 commercials," he said.  

But the franc was high and the dollar was low, so he returned to the United States, but this time to Los Angeles, where he met many of the big names and found more work in commercials and sitcoms.

He appeared on "McMillan & Wife" with Rock Hudson, "Charlie's Angels," "Scruples," "Dynasty," "Hart to Hart," "Falcon Crest," and "Jake & the Fatman," to name a few. He was also in the movie "Hostage Flight" with Ned Beatty. 

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