May 25, 2022

“Diana’s death changed my job, meeting Johnny changed my life”

The king of the paparazzi is exhibiting at the Grande Arche de la Défense this week. He looks back on his incredible journey, from the suburbs of Paris to his friendship with Johnny Hallyday. First extracts.

Paris Match. Your life is just a succession of encounters with extraordinary personalities. It all started in Paris, at the Lycée Buffon, with the hidden son of a celebrity.
Daniel Angeli. I was a dunce. I was killing time with the adulterous son of a great actor, whose name I will keep silent. We went to the cinema to dream in front of our idols. My father didn’t know what to do with me anymore. The editor of “Jours de France”, the magazine of celebrities and crowned heads of Marcel Dassault, had a slate at New Jimmy’s, the club where my father was a waiter. He stuck with me as an assistant to the newspaper’s photographers.

(…)

In 1997, did the death of Princess Diana change your job?
This is the turn. Christian Martinez was at the scene of the tragedy, it destroyed him. He was the last to speak to her. He was offered golden bridges to tell the whole story, he will never do it. If the accident had happened in England, the press would have released all the photos. There is one by Serge Benhamou, seized like all the others by the French police: before taking the Alma bridge, Lady Di passed on the Place de la Concorde, she waved to Serge. . Diana was provoking the situations with the paparazzi. She was asking for their images. And, in London, did not fail to say hello every morning to the photographers. She was snubbing the royal family of England. As she did in Saint-Tropez at Dodi Al-Fayed. Henri Paul should never have taken the wheel in his condition, 1.75 grams of alcohol, Prozac in his blood, in a poorly maintained car. The disappearance of Diana left a deep mark on us and changed the way we look at things. We didn’t want to anymore. We photographed Diana all year round, we got attached to her. Many of us hung up.

Then Johnny transformed your life …
I met him in Gstaad, I was 53 years old and I never left him for almost twenty years. It is the story of a sincere friendship. We shared everything. Our wives and children were friends. He bought a chalet in Gstaad to come and see me during the season. When Jade adopted, I transferred to Johnny’s account 150,000 euros from the sale of the exclusive images. It was my present for the little one. He later wanted to buy me a house in Marnes-laCoquette. I had an amazing life with him. We were jumping from one plane to another. We ate at the greatest tables in France. Great food was important to him. He always said: “You have to eat Laeticia’s rum baba, it’s the best.” I’ve never seen him show off. His simplicity and charisma captivated me. He spoke to people, in the street or in restaurants. They were hallucinating. But he was also very shy …

“Paparazzi from A to Z”, a retrospective of Daniel Angeli’s work, the Grande Arche de la Défense, from August 7, 2021 to January 30, 2022

Find the full interview in Paris Match n ° 3770, from August 5 to 11, 2021

PMAT_PMAG_3770_P001 (2)

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