One of France's most commercially successful directors, GERARD OURY, has died at home in Saint Tropez. He was 87. Until the release of James Cameron's cruise liner epic TITANIC in 1997, Oury was responsible for the most popular film of all time in France, 1966's LA GRANDE VADROUILLE. More than 17 million French cinema-goers watched the tale of an Allied pilot desperate to escape occupied France during World War II. Oury's other hits included LE CERVEAU and LES AVENTURES DE RABBI JACOB. As an actor - before embarking on movie-making - Oury starred in British films FATHER BROWN alongside Alec Guinness and THE HEART OF THE MATTER with Trevor Howard during the 1950s. French Prime Minister Dominique De Villepin paid tribute to his close friend, saying, "(He was a) marvellous representative of the French spirit, of humour, generosity and tenderness. "(His work) is part of the heritage of French families - those films that one can watch over and again with the same delight as on the first day." Oury is survived by his partner, actress MICHELE MORGAN and daughter DANIELE THOMPSON.