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Terzieff was the son of French ceramist Marina and her husband Jean Terzieff, a Romanian-born sculptor of Russian and Romanian descent who came to France from Bucharest during the First World War. The original surname of his family was Chemerzin (Russian: Чемерзин). As an adolescent, he was fascinated with philosophy and poetry. He assisted with a representation of the La Sonate des spectres by Strindberg, directed by Roger Blin; while involved in the theater he decided he wanted to become an actor.
Terzieff made his debut in 1953 at the Parisian Théâtre de Babylone of Jean-Marie Serreau in Tous contre tous of Adamov. After several more roles, Marcel Carné offered him a lead role in 1958's Tricheurs, a tale about existentialist youth. He then appeared in the late works of French scenario writers such as Claude Autant-L...

Photos © Tony Frank
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