Les Français du cinéma américain

Log in to copy items to your own lists.
Maurice Tourneur
Screenwriter and director Maurice Tourneur was born Maurice Thomas in the Parisian suburb of Belleville on February 2, 1873, the son of a jewelry merchant. He was trained and employed as a graphic designer and a magazine illustrator as a young man. After serving in a French artillery unit in northern Africa...
Jacques Tourneur
Director, Out of the Past
Born in Paris in 1904, Tourneur went to Hollywood with his father, director Maurice Tourneur around 1913. He started out as a script clerk and editor for his father, then graduated to such jobs as directing shorts (often with the pseudonym Jack Turner), both in France and America. He was hired to run the second unit for David O. Selznick's A Tale of Two Cities...
Charles Boyer
Actor, Gaslight
Charles Boyer studied philosophy before he went to the theater where he gave his debut in 1920. Although he had at first no intentions to pursue a career at the movies (his first movie was L'homme du large by Marcel L'Herbier) he used his chance in Hollywood after several filming stations all over Europe...
Claudette Colbert
One of the brightest film stars to grace the screen was born Emilie Claudette Chauchoin on September 13, 1903, in Saint Mandé, France where her father owned a bakery at 57, rue de la République (now Avenue Général de Gaulle). The family moved to the United States when she was three. As Claudette grew up...
Julien Duvivier
Director, Pépé le Moko
Revered by such legendary fellow directors as Ingmar Bergman and Jean Renoir, Julien Duvivier is one of the greatest figures in the history of French cinema and of world cinema in general. He is perhaps the most neglected of the "Big Five" of classic French cinema (the other four being Jean Renoir, Rene Clair...
Jean Renoir
Son of the famous Impressionist painter Pierre Auguste, he had a happy childhood. Pierre Renoir was his brother, and Claude Renoir was his nephew. After the end of World War I, where he won the Croix de Guerre, he moved from scriptwriting to filmmaking. He married Catherine Hessling, for whom he began to make movies; he wanted to make a star of her...
Jean Gabin
Jean-Alexis Moncorge started his career with 15 years at the theatre and debuted at the "Moulin Rouge" in Paris in 1929. Despite of his rude aspect he knew to be the gentleman of the French cinema in the time between the two World Wars. One of his most popular personalities was inspector Maigret. But he was also able to play all other kind of people: aristocrats...
Simone Simon
Actress, Cat People
Diminutive, fiery-tempered Simone Simon was born in France, but spent much of her early childhood in Madagascar, where her father managed a graphite mine. Her schooling was somewhat unsettled, her family moving from city to city (Berlin, Budapest, Turin) before finally establishing themselves in Paris in 1930...
Marcel Dalio
Actor, Sabrina
Sunday, November the 20th is the anniversary of Marcel Dalio's death in 1983. It was the end of a serendipitous life. You know him. He was a citizen of the world. Born Israel Moshe Blauschild, in Paris, in 1900, he became a much sought-after character actor. His lovely animated face with its great expressive eyes became familiar across Europe...
Simone Signoret
Actress, Diabolique
The face of Simone Signoret on the Paris Metro movie posters in March 1982 looked even older than her 61 years. She was still a box office draw, but the film, L'étoile du Nord, would be her last theatrical release. She played the landlady. Signoret had a long film apprenticeship during World War II, mostly as an extra and occasionally getting to speak a single line...
Jeanne Moreau
Actress, Jules and Jim
When people gave Louis Malle credit for making a star of Jeanne Moreau in Elevator to the Gallows immediately followed by The Lovers, he would point out that Moreau by that time had already been "recognized as the prime stage actress of her generation." She had made it to the Comédie Française in her 20s...
François Truffaut
François began to assiduously go to the movies at 7. He was also a great reader but not a good pupil. He left school at 14 and started working. In 1947, aged 15, he founded a film club and met André Bazin, a French critic, who becomes his protector. Bazin helped the delinquent Truffaut and also when he was put in jail because he deserted the army...
Isabelle Huppert
Actress, Amour
Isabelle Huppert was born in 1953, in Paris, France, but spent her childhood in Ville d'Avray. Encouraged by her mother (who was a teacher of English), she followed the Conservatory of Versailles and won an acting prize for her work in Alfred de Musset's "Un caprice". She then studied at the Conservatoire d'Art Dramatique and followed an illustrious theatrical career...
Isabelle Adjani
Actress, Queen Margot
Isabelle Yasmine Adjani was born in Gennevilliers, Hauts-de-Seine, a suburb of Paris, to Emma Augusta "Gusti" (Schweinberger) and Mohammed Adjani. Her father was a Kabyle Algerian, from Iferhounène, and her mother was a Bavarian German. She grew up speaking German fluently. After winning a school recitation contest...
Emmanuelle Béart
Emmanuelle Béart was born August 14, 1963, in Gassin, France. She lived with her mother, brothers, and sister on a farm not far from Saint-Tropez in Provence (southern France), because her father, singer and poet Guy Béart, did not want his children to be affected by the glamour world of Paris...
Christopher Lambert
Though born in Great Neck, Long Island, Christopher Lambert's family left the US when he was only two years old. His father was a United Nations diplomat assigned to Switzerland and, as a result, Chris was educated at private boarding schools in Geneva. Inspired through his having appeared in a play at age 12...
Luc Besson
Luc Besson spent the first years of his life following his parents, scuba diving instructors, around the world. His early life was entirely aquatic. He already showed amazing creativity as a youth, writing early drafts of The Big Blue and The Fifth Element, as an adolescent bored in school. He...
Pierre Morel
Director, Taken
Jan Kounen
Director, 99 francs
Léa Seydoux
Léa Seydoux is a French actress. She began her acting career in French cinema, appearing in films such as The Last Mistress (2007) and On War (2008). She first came to attention after she received her first César Award nomination for her performance in The Beautiful Person (2008) and won the Trophée Chopard, an award given to promising actors at the Cannes Film Festival...
Marion Cotillard
Actress, Inception
Academy Award-winning Actress Marion Cotillard was born on September 30, 1975 in Paris. Cotillard is the daughter of Jean-Claude Cotillard, an actor, playwright and director, and Niseema Theillaud, an actress and drama teacher. Her father's family is Breton and her mother has Kabyle ancestry. Raised in Orléans...
Tchéky Karyo
Actor, Bad Boys
Born in Istanbul, Turkey, Tcheky Karyo grew up in Paris. He studied drama at the Cyrano Theatre and became a member of the Daniel Sorano Company, where he played numerous classical roles. He next joined the National Theatre of Strasbourg, where he starred in contemporary theatre as well as in such classical works as "Tartuffe"...
Jean Reno
Jean Reno was born Juan Moreno y Herrera-Jiménez in Casablanca, Morocco, to Spanish parents (from Andalucía) who moved to North Africa to seek work. His father was a linotypist. Reno settled in France at 17. He began studying drama and has credits in French television and theater as well as films. His first two marriages both ended in divorce...
Eva Green
Actress, Casino Royale
French actress and model Eva Gaëlle Green was born on July 6, 1980, in Paris, France. Her father, Walter Green, is a dentist who appeared in the 1966 film Au Hasard Balthazar. Her mother, Marlène Jobert, is an actress turned children's book writer. Eva's mother was born in Algeria, of Sephardi Jewish heritage (during that time...
Louis Jourdan
Actor, Octopussy
Louis Jourdan was born Louis Robert Gendre in Marseille, France, to Yvonne (née Jourdan) and Henry Gendre, a hotel owner. He was educated in France, Britain, and Turkey. He trained as an actor with René Simon at the École Dramatique. He debuted on screen in 1939, going on to play cultivated, polished...
Leslie Caron
Actress, Gigi
Actress and dancer. Gene Kelly got her to the movies for the film An American in Paris in 1951. Got a world-wide reputation for her roles in Lili (1953) and Gigi (1958).
Maurice Chevalier
Actor, Gigi
Maurice Chevalier's first working job was as an acrobat, until a serious accident ended that career. He turned his talents to singing and acting, and made several short films in France. During World War I he enlisted in the French army. He was wounded in battle, captured and placed in a POW camp by the Germans...
Bruno Cremer
Actor, Maigret
Bruno Cremer went to Paris following high school. He always knew he was made to be an actor and his mother helped him. He was admitted to the Paris Conservatory. He rose to prominence in the theater playing in Shakespeare's "Pericles," Oscar Wilde's "An Ideal Husband" and Jean Anouilh's "Poor Bitos" and "Becket." He has appeared in dozens of films...
Jean-Paul Belmondo
Actor, Breathless
The son of the renowned French sculptor Paul Belmondo, he studied at Conservatoire National Superieur d'Art Dramatique (CNSAD); after the minor stage performances he made his screen debut in À pied, à cheval et en voiture but the episodes with his participation were cut before release. However, the breakthrough role in Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless made him one of the key figures in the French New Wave...
Gérard Depardieu
Actor, Life of Pi
Gérard Depardieu was born in Châteauroux, Indre, France, to Anne Jeanne Josèphe (Marillier) and René Maxime Lionel Depardieu, who was a metal worker and fireman. Young delinquent and wanderer in the past, Depardieu started his acting career at the small traveling theatre "Cafe de la Gare", along with Patrick Dewaere and Miou-Miou...
Lino Ventura
One of France's most beloved character stars from the 1950s through and including the 1980s was the Italian-born Lino Ventura. Born Angiolino Joseph Pascal Ventura to Giovanni Ventura and Luisa Borrini, on July 14, 1919, in Parma (northern) Italy, young Lino moved with his family at a young age to Paris...
Sophie Marceau
Actress, Braveheart
Sophie Marceau was born Sophie Danièle Sylvie Maupu in Paris, France, to Simone (Morisset), a shop assistant, and Benoît Maupu, a truck driver. She grew up far from the studio spotlights. When she was 14 she was living in the Paris suburb of Gentilly with her father. She learned from friends that director Claude Pinoteau was looking for new faces for a movie about teenagers called The Party...
Audrey Tautou
Actress, Amélie
Audrey Justine Tautou was born on August 9, 1976 in Beaumont, France, to Evelyne Marie Laure (Nuret), a teacher, and Bernard Tautou, a dental surgeon. Audrey showed an interest for comedy at an early age and started her acting lessons at 'Cours Florent'. In 1998 she won the best young actress award in the ninth 'Jeune Comedien de Cinema Festival' in Bezier...
Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Director, Amélie
Jean-Pierre Jeunet is a self-taught director who was very quickly interested by cinema, with a predilection for a fantastic cinema where form is as important as the subject. Thus he started directing TV commercials and video clips (such as Julien Clerc in 1984). At the same time he met designer/drawer Marc Caro with whom he made two short animation movies: L'évasion and Le manège...
Eric Serra
Music Department, The Fifth Element
Eric Serra was born on September 9th, 1959 near Paris in France. His mother died when he was only 7 years old. His father, Claude Serra was a well-know songwriter in France in late 50s and 60s. Serra began to learn play the guitar at 11 years old and became a professional musician for Mory Kante;, Didier Lockwood and Michel Murty at 15 years old...
With classic patrician features and an independent, non-conformist personality, Capucine began her film debut in 1949 at the age of 21 with an appearance in the film Rendezvous in July. She attended school in France and received a BA degree in foreign languages. Married for six months in her early twenties...
Michel Hazanavicius
Director, The Artist
Michel Hazanavicius was born and raised in Paris, France. His grandparents were originally from Lithuania, but relocated to France in the 1920s. Hazanavicius attended art school, and moved on to work as a director for commercials and television projects. In 1999, he wrote and directed his first feature film Mes amis...
Jean Dujardin
Actor, The Artist
In 1995 he began his first one man show, the same year he met Bruno Salomone, Eric Collado, Emmanuel Joucla and Eric Massot with whom he created the "Nous C nous". In 1999, he became "Loulou" in Un gars, une fille. This part permitted him to show his talent to a larger public. Since the end of "Un gars, une fille" in 2003, he has appeared in many films.
Bérénice Bejo
Actress, The Artist
Actress Bérénice Bejo was born in Buenos Aires, the daughter of Argentinian filmmaker Miguel Bejo. When she was age 3, Bejo's family relocated to Paris, France. She embarked on a successful acting career in the 1990s, with various roles in French television and film productions. She made her American film debut as Christiana in A Knight's Tale...
Bérénice Marlohe
Actress, Skyfall
French actress Bérénice Marlohe first came to international attention when she was cast as the glamorous and enigmatic Severin in the twenty-third Bond film SKYFALL, alongside Daniel Craig which grossed over 1.11 billion dollars worldwide. Marlohe will continue to expand her presence in the states on the silver screen...
Clémence Poésy
Clémence Poésy was born Clémence Guichard in Paris in 1982. She took her mother's maiden name, Poésy, as her stage name. She attended an alternative school for most of her education, but spent her last year at L'École alsacienne. She trained at the "Conservatoire National Supérieur d'Art Dramatique"...
“ Had a bit part in "Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows" that was cut. ” - misterdinguerie
Claudine Auger
Actress, Thunderball
Claudine Auger, a former Miss France (1958), received her dramatic training at the Paris Drama Conservatory and is best known to US / UK audiences as the stunning brunette "Domino" opposite Sean Connery in the James Bond thriller Thunderball, She has kept fairly busy since her Bond days, acting in a number of Italian...
Catherine Deneuve
Catherine Deneuve was born October 22, 1943 in Paris, France. Her parents were actors. She made her movie debut in 1957, when she was thirteen and continued with small parts in minor films, until Roger Vadim gave her a meatier role in Vice and Virtue. But her breakthrough came with the excellent musical The Umbrellas of Cherbourg...
Juliette Binoche
Juliette Binoche was born in Paris, France, to Monique Yvette Stalens, a director, teacher, and actress, and Jean-Marie Binoche, a sculptor, director, and actor. Her mother was born in Czestochowa, Poland, of French, Walloon Belgian, and Polish descent, while her father is French. Juliette was only 23 when she first attracted the attention of international film critics with The Unbearable Lightness of Being...
Vincent Cassel
Actor, Black Swan
Blue-eyed Vincent Cassel was born in Paris to a leading actor father, Jean-Pierre Cassel, and a journalist mother, Sabine Litique. Often labeled as a tough guy because of his roles, eclectic choices and talent have made of him a star of European cinema. First in La Haine, the young actor, actually coming from upper classes...
Saïd Taghmaoui
Saïd Taghmaoui was born July 19th 1973 in Villepinte, Seine-Saint-Denis, France, to Moroccan immigrant parents. He has 9 siblings. He dropped out of school at a young age and became a boxer; at one point ranking number 2 in France in his category. He met Mathieu Kassovitz with whom he co-wrote the 1995 French film "La Haine" which won the Best Director award in Cannes...
Jean-Pierre Cassel
He made his movie debut at the invitation of Gene Kelly, who cast Cassel in the 1956 Paris-filmed seriocomedy The Happy Road. At least, that's what the press releases claimed; actually, the tall, elastic-faced Cassel had been plugging away in films on a minor basis since 1950. Shortly after, Cassel was perfectly cast in the naif title role in the 1958 film version of Voltaire's Candide...
Alain Delon
Alain Fabien Maurice Marcel Delon was born in Sceaux, Hauts-de-Seine, France, to Édith (Arnold) and Fabien Delon. His father was of French and Corsican Italian descent, and his mother was of French and German ancestry. His parents divorced early on, and Delon had a stormy childhood, being frequently expelled from school...
Romy Schneider
Actress, Sissi
Romy Schneider was born on 23 September 1938 in Vienna, Austria into a family of actors. Making her film debut at the age of 15, her breakthrough came two years later in the very popular trilogy Sissi. Her mother, supervising her daughter's career, immediately approved Romy's participation in Christine...
Michèle Morgan
A classic beauty, blonde French actress Michèle Morgan has been one of her country's most popular leading ladies for over five decades. Born in 1920, she studied acting under René Simon and began her career at 15 working as a film extra to pay for drama classes. The young actress soon caught the eye of director 'Marc Allegret' who cast her in Heart of Paris...
Danielle Darrieux
Actress, Persepolis
Danielle Darrieux was born in 1917 in Bordeaux, France, but raised in Paris. She was only 14 when she auditioned for a secondary role in Le bal: she got the part, and the producer offered her a five-year contract. She had her first romantic lead in La crise est finie and scored an international...
Anouk Aimée
She is the daughter of the actress Geneviève Sorya. In 1948 she played the part of Juliette in Les amants de Vérone. In the following years (fifties and beginning sixties) she made various films (e.g. Modigliani of Montparnasse and La Dolce Vita) but had only with Lola of Jacques Demy and A Man and a Woman of Claude Lelouch major success...
Jean Rochefort
Actor, Ridicule
French character star Jean Rochefort expressed an interest in acting early in life. Born in 1930, he trained at the Paris Conservatoire but had to halt his studies due to military service. Relocating to Paris, he developed a minor name for himself in cabaret and stage plays. He also worked with the Grenier-Hussenot company at this time and acted in TV drama...
Julie Delpy
Actress, Before Sunset
Julie Delpy was born in Paris, France, in 1969 to Albert Delpy and Marie Pillet, both actors. She was first featured in Jean-Luc Godard's Détective at the age of fourteen. She has starred in many American and European productions since then, including Disney's The Three Musketeers, Killing Zoe...
Thierry Lhermitte
One of France's most popular actors, writers, and producers, Thierry Lhermitte has been appearing in films since the 1970s. Perhaps best known for work in farcical comedies, the tall, handsome actor has appeared in some of France's more outrageous films over the course of his prolific career. Born in Paris on November 24...
Georges Guétary
When we hear songs like "Rambino" and " Ciao Ciao Bambino" the name of Georges Guétary cames to one's mind. But also as a producer of " Bless the bride", "Latin Quartier" in London and "Arms and the girl" on Broadway, he added light and charm to show business. The last show to celebrate 50 years of perfomances was staged at the Robino's in Paris...
At the age of three, André Zacharie Raimbourg and his family moved to a town in the region of Normandy called Bourville. He finished school at the age of 15 and began to work as a baker. He was already playing harmonica, mandoline and cornet when he engaged himself in a village band. In the beginning of 1940 while in the army making music-hall show for the troops...
Before Arlette-Leonie Bathiat went to the movies she was a secretary and had posed several times as a model for different painters and photographers. In 1920 she debuted on stage at a theatre. She only began to work in movies after 1930. After World War II she was condemned to prison for having been the lover of a German official during the ocupation of France...
Mélanie Laurent
Mélanie Laurent was born in Paris, France. She is the daughter of Annick, a ballet teacher, and Pierre, a voice actor, who is most recognized for the French version of The Simpsons. She has a younger brother, Mathieu, and has both Sephardi Jewish (from Tunisia) and Ashkenazi Jewish (from Poland) ancestry...
Lambert Wilson
Lambert Wilson was born in Paris and studied acting at the Drama Centre in London. A fluent English speaker, he made his feature film debut at the age of twenty-two in Fred Zinnemann's Five Days One Summer (1981) starring opposite Sean Connery. He went on to work with many of France's most prestigious auteur directors...
Roman Polanski
Director, The Pianist
Roman Polanski is a Polish film director, producer, writer and actor. Having made films in Poland, Britain, France and the USA, he is considered one of the few truly international filmmakers. Roman Polanski was born in Paris in 1933. His parents returned to Poland from France in 1936, three years before World War II began...