The son of a surgeon, Herve Villechaize was born in 1943 in Paris. During his childhood, it became apparent that he would not grow to reach average height -- as an adult he stood at just under 4'. A talented painter and photographer, Villechaize studied at the famed Beaux-Arts in Paris. As a young man, he moved to New York, where he continued working on his art and began to act as well. Villechaize was particular about the roles he would accept and rumor has it he wrote on his resume, "No elves or Santa's helpers, please."
His first notable film role was that of Beppo in the 1971 comedy The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight with Robert DeNiro and Jerry Orbach. With roles in the 1974 James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun and Oliver Stone's Seizure, his career steadily gained momentum. Villechaize moved to California, and in 1977 TV legend Aaron Spelling cast him as Tattoo in the ABC TV movie of the week, Fantasy Island. The rest, as they say, was history. Famous for shouting "The plane! The plane!" in his thick French accent, audiences adored Villechaize 's character Tattoo, the warm-hearted comic foil to Mr. Roarke. In 1982, Villechaize was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor in a series. Herve left Fantasy Island in 1983 due to a salary dispute.
While appearing on Fantasy Island, Villechaize appeared in the films The One and Only and Airplane II: The Sequel. In addition, he made guest appearances on Taxi, The Fall Guy andDiff'rent Strokes. However, after he left Fantasy Island, acting roles were few and far between. He resurfaced in the early '90s in episodes of The Larry Sanders Show and The Ben Stiller Show as well as several commercials. Though described by some as an extremely charitable man with a rebellious spirit, Villechaize was plagued with health problems and suffered severe bouts of depression. Sadly, on Sept. 4, 1993 he committed suicide in his Hollywood home.
Tattoo is Fantasy Island's town crier and Mr. Roarke's indispensable assistant. At just under four feet tall, Tattoo's spirit vastly exceeds his stature. Every week, he rushes up the tower of the Island's main cottage, rings the bell and shouts (in his thick French accent) "The plane! The plane!" to announce the imminent arrival of the latest guests.
With a naughty twinkle in his eye and a knack for putting people at ease, Tattoo acts as comic foil to the all-business Roarke. Though he usually addresses him as "Boss," he considers him a close friend as well. Roarke describes Tattoo as a kind man with the trusting nature of a true innocent. He is quick to fall in love with beautiful female guests and longs to have a family of his own, though he bemoans his small stature sometimes prevents others from taking him seriously. An active participant in many of the guest's fantasies, Tattoo is surely no small part of the Fantasy Island experience.