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Jacques-Yves Cousteau 

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An underwater explorer and early marine photographer, Jacques-Yves Cousteau used television to open the sea up to millions of landlocked viewers. Passionate about filmmaking from a young age, a serious car accident in 1936 saw Jacques unable to fly, and consequently he diverted all his attention to the underwater world. A member of the French Navy, he developed his passion for diving and made his first underwater films during the Second World War.

Working with engineer Emile Gagan, Jacques' quest for greater manoeuvrability underwater led to the invention of the Aqualung in 1943. Allowing free movement at depths of up to 100 feet, their self-contained unit was a landmark development in the world of diving.

Intent on exploring as much as possible, Jacques secured investment from a British benefactor and bought a former U.S. mine-sweeper, Calypso, in 1950. Converting the vessel into a floating laboratory, Jacques undertook numerous voyages and over time, the boat became synonymous with both him and his work.

Constantly striving to improve his underwater filming techniques, Jacques fathered a number of inventions including waterproof casing, lighting technology, sea-scooters and even a small two-person submersible. In 1952-53 he took the first ever underwater colour footage whilst researching in the Red Sea.

In 1956, Jacque resigned from the Navy and concentrated on making films for the cinema audiences. Hugely popular, his productions opened the public's eyes to the breadth and diversity of the underwater world and he won many accolades, including Oscars for The Silent World (1957), The Golden Fish (1959) and The World Without Sun (1965).

1966 saw Jacques cementing his position as the world's most famous ocean explorer, releasing his first television special, The World of Jacques-Yves Cousteau, to huge international success and critical acclaim. Landing him a lucrative contract with the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) the series, renamed The Undersea World of Jacques Yves Cousteau, continued running for the next eight years.

An ardent and outspoken conservationist, Jacques was active in the movement to safeguard the world's oceans from pollution. In 1973 he formed the Cousteau Society, raising money for scientific explorations around the globe and he received numerous awards for his preservation efforts, including the UN International Environment Prize in 1977.

Producing numerous one-off television shows until his death in 1997, Jacques also co-authored a huge number of books including a twenty volume encyclopaedia entitled The Ocean World of Jacques Cousteau.

WildFilmHistory Films

film-smallSilent World (1956)Director,
film-smallThe World of Jacques-Yves Cousteau (1968)Producer 
film-smallThe Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau (1966-1976): Dragons of Galapagos (1971)Narrator 
film-smallThe Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau (1966-1976): Secrets of the Sunken Caves (1972)Narrator 
film-smallThe Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau (1966-1976): The Forgotten Mermaids (1972)Executive Producer,
film-smallThe Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau (1966-1976): Beneath the Frozen World (1974)Narrator 
film-smallThe Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau (1966-1976): South to Fire and Ice (1974)Narrator 
film-smallThe Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau (1966-1976): The Flight of the Penguins (1974)Narrator 
film-smallThe Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau (1966-1976): Coral Divers of Corsica (1975)Narrator 
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