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400 pay tribute to star Ustinov.

HUNDREDS of mourners bade farewell to actor and playwright Peter Ustinov at a memorial service in Geneva yesterday.

Family, friends and former movie colleagues travelled from across the world to pay tribute to the multi-talented raconteur.

Ustinov, who died last Sunday aged 82, was buried at a private service in the picturesque village of Bursins in the French-speaking canton of Vaud, where he had lived since 1970.

An Oscar-winning star of over 60 films, he was also an outspoken opponent of war and worked as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). His coffin was carried by eight pall-bearers into the Saint-Pierre Cathedral, where 400 mourners, including Ustinov's third wife Helene and four children, were gathered.

Ustinov spoke more than half a dozen languages and, although confined to a wheelchair by diabetes and a weak heart in later life, continued to entertain audiences with his stories.

Among his best-known film roles was that of Hercule Poirot in screen adaptations of the British mystery writer Agatha Christie's famous detective novels.

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LAST FAREWELL: violinist Ivry Gitlis plays in front of the coffin at Peter Ustinov's funeral
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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Apr 4, 2004
Words:189
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