Venice resident Andre Philippe, an actor described by a friend as “an eccentric, charming, raconteur of a gentleman,” died of congestive heart failure in Venice April 29th. He was 79.

During the 1960s, Philippe was a fixture on episodic television programs such as Wild, Wild West, Bonanza, Get Smart, That Girl, Combat and Hawaii Eye, on which he appeared 11 times, always as some sort of variation of himself, the friend says.

A longtime close friend, writer/director, Paul Mazursky, said, “It was a variation on his ‘fake’ self.”

The two men had a relationship dating back to Brooklyn College in 1951.

Philippe was born Everett Cooper on November 8th, 1927 in the Bronx. After World War II, he went to Paris to study cooking at Le Cordon Bleu, using the GI Bill, a federally-funded program that provided educational and other benefits for World War II veterans.

But he got sidetracked and started singing at La Cave nightclub in Paris, and realized that the name Everett Cooper would not work for a French singer, so he adopted the name Andre Philippe in 1952.

This was the name he would use for the rest of his life, except for the last few years of his life, when he would refer to himself as Everett Cooperstein, after he became an observant of Judaism.

After returning from Paris to the United States, Philippe started working nightclubs as a singer, notably in Pittsburgh and at the Mocambo on the Sunset Strip. It was at the Mocambo where Philippe got the opportunity to rub shoulders with and get to know the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Gloria Swanson.

Philippe always lived somewhat of “Zelig” type of life, friends said. He was briefly romantically linked to Judy Garland and had known writer Aldous Huxley, friends said.

Philippe’s singing career led to a very active television career from 1961 to about 1971. Television work afterwards was sporadic, with parts on Medical Center, Charlie’s Angels and Magnum, PI.

“Andre could drive you nuts, but he was so funny,” Mazursky recalled.

Philippe was married to actress Susan Harrison, and yoga teacher Virginia Dennison.

He is survived by his brother, Dr. Morton Cooper, who is known as “the voice doctor” and the author of the book, Change Your Voice, Change Your Life.