Gerard Depardieu
Birth Date:
December 27, 1948
Birth Place:
Châteauroux, Indre, France
5' 10
Famous for:
Title role in the French film 'Cyrano de Bergerac' (1990)
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Cyrano de Bergerac


“I’d rather spend my time with grape growers than actors. In the film industry, all the money is focused on television and the stupidity of American cinema. There are fewer and fewer “films d’auteur” made by people like Ken Loach or Claude Chabrol. The cinema is dead; it’s finished. Who goes to the movies now? Its children. People who are 30 would rather sit at home in front of the telly.” Gerard Depardieu

A heavily built, highly gifted leading man and one of Europe’s most productive and accomplished screen performers, Gerard Depardieu has made an intense mark on the acting world. As an actor, he conveys to his portrayals an intensity and awareness to detail that bestows all his characters with a sense of importance. A French actor that has achieved some prominence in North America as well, Depardieu first received wide-spread attention in Les Valseuses/Going Places (1974) and went on to score a César Award for his work in the dark drama Le Dernier Metro/The Last Metro (1980). He cemented his worldwide status with his title role in Danton (1982), from which he was handed a Montréal World Film Festival Award and a National Society of Film Critics Award. Three years later, he added a Venice Film Festival Award to his impressive accomplishment for his starring role in Police (1985).

The highest-paid actor in French cinema, Depardieu achieved even more recognition and appreciation when he starred in director Jean-Paul Rappeneau’s 1990 big screen version of Cyrano de Bergerac. Offering a spectacular performance, he won a César Award, a Cannes Film Festival Award and a London Critics Circle Film Award, in addition to an Oscar nomination. He combined the huge success with his Golden Globe-winning performance in the Hollywood film Green Card (1990). Since Green Card, Depardieu has acted in many other English-language films, including Unhook the Stars (1996), The Secret Agent (1996), Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet (1996), The Man in the Iron Mask (1998), City of Ghosts (2002), Crime Spree (2003) and Last Holiday (2006). He is also well-known as Obelix on the popular live-action adaptation of the comic books in Asterix et Obelix contre Cesar (1999), and its sequels Asterix and Obelix: Mission Cleopatra (2002). He will also reprise the role for Asterix at the Olympic Games (2008).

Depardieu has earned a degree of notoriety for his turbulent off-screen life. In 2000, he made a grand effort to reduce his alcohol consumption after a heart attack and emergency quintuple bypass surgery. Two years later, he publicly stopped having contact with his actor-son Guillaume when the young man intimidated him with a pistol. In 2005, he supposedly dismayed European audiences when he stupidly (as well as drunkenly) hurt a fellow guest on a French talk show after the woman gave negative comments on the cookbook he had authored.

On a more private note, Depardieu was married to Elisabeth Depardieu from 1970 to 1996 and has two children with her, Guillaume Depardieu (actor, born 1971) and Julie Dapardieu (actress, born 1973). He remarried in 2001, to Marie Lemieux. Depardieu also had a long-term affair with frequent co-star Carole Bouquet (from 1996 to 2004) and they even became engaged in 2003. His love life has also been involved with Karine Sylla, daughter of a Senegalese diplomat, with whom he had a daughter, Roxanne, in 1992.

Juvenile Delinquency

Childhood and Family:

Son of Rene and Eliette Depardieu, Gerard Xavier Marcel Depardieu was born on December 27, 1948, in Chatearoux, Indre, France. The third of six children, he grew up in an impoverished family and left school at age 12. Young Gerard also frequently found himself on the wrong side of the law. He stole cars and sold black-market cigarettes and alcohol and used the profits to fund an informal tour across Europe. Upon returning to France, Gerard was persuaded by a social worker and a friend to give acting a try. He enrolled in acting classes at the Theatre National Populaire.

Gerard married first wife Elisabeth (born on August 5, 1941) in 1970. They welcomed their son, Guillaume Depardieu, on April 7, 1971 and their daughter, Julie Dapardieu, on June 18, 1973. The marriage, however, ended in divorce after twenty six years in 1996. He married Marie Lemieux on June 11, 2001. Gerard has one more daughter named Roxanne Depardieu, who was born on May 2, 1992 (mother Karine Sillas).

Green Card


A law-breaker as a youth, Gerard Depardieu decided to clean up his life and found acting was his salvation. He attended drama classes and later became affiliated with Cafe de la Gare, alongside future costars Miou-Miou, Patrick Dewaere and Coluche. His first taste in front of the film camera arrived when director Roger Leenhard cast him in the title role in a 20-minute French short, Le Beatnik et le minet, in 1967, and he then began making regular appearances on French television shows, landing his series regular debut on the 1970 serial “Rendez-vous a Badenberg,” as Eddy Belmont. Following small roles in movies, including Le Tueur/The Killer (1972), Marguerite Duras’ Nathalie Granger (1972), Two Men in Town (1973), Les Gaspards/ The Down-in-the-Hole Gang (1974), the young actor experienced his first major success when he starred as a petty gangster named Jean-Claude on Les Valseuses/Going Places (1974), a comedy/crime film directed by Bertrand Blier and costarring Patrick Dewaere.

The same year, Depardieu also had a supporting role in Stavisky (1974) and features roles in Paul. . . et les autres/Vincent, Francois, Paul and Others (1974) and Pas si méchant que ça/ The Wonderful Crook (1974), and in 1976, he teamed up with director Barbet Schroeder for a part in Maitresse/Mistress and found himself holding his own against celebrated French actress Isabelle Adjani in Barocco. He also played a fervent Communist organizer in Bernardo Bertolucci’s Novecento/1900 (1976), opposite Robert De Niro. The following years saw him reunite with actress/director/writer Marguerite Duras on Le Camion/The Lorry (1977) and with both Blier and Dewaere for the Academy Award-nominated foreign film Preparez vos mouchoirs/ Get Out Your Handkerchiefs (1978). He rounded out the decade by costarring in such films as Sucre, Le/The Sugar (1978), earning his fourth César nomination, and Chiens, Les/ The Dogs (1979).

Beginning in the 1980s, Depardieu delivered an excellent performance as a resistance fighter, Bernard Granger, in the Francois Truffaut-helmed dark drama Le Dernier Metro/The Last Metro (1980), where he won France’s prestigious César for Best Actor, and after his portrayal of a 16th century peasant in Le Retour de Martin Guerre/The Return of Martin Guerre (1982), the actor offered an adoring interpretation of the title role in Danton (also 1982), Andrzej Wajda’s drama about the Reign of Terror after the French Revolution. With the role, he gained international attention, receiving a Montréal World Film Festival and a National Society of Film Critics for Best Actor. Next, Depardieu stepped behind the camera for the first time as co-director for Le Tartuffe (1984), where he also starred in the title role, and led the middling Police (1985), in which his portrayal of a tough cop attacking a drug ring earned him a Venice Film Festival for Best Actor. He went on to have notable roles in such movies as Claude Berri’s Jean de Floret (1986, nabbed a BAFTA nomination for Best Actor), Sous le soleil de Satan/ Under Satan’s Sun (1987, earned a César nomination) and Camille Claudel (1988, netted a César nomination).

Depardieu maintained his successful career throughout the 1990s. As the new decade rolled in, he scored a huge victory and received some of the best reviews of his career with his brilliant interpretation of the classic role of “Cyrano de Bergerac” in director Jean-Paul Rappeneau’s 1990 screen version. As a result, he took home a César and a Cannes Film Festival for Best Actor as well as a London Critics Circle Film for Actor of the Year. He also picked up a Best Actor Academy Award nomination. The same year, he also amazed many with his first venture into American movies in director Peter Weir’s comedy Green Card and won a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Leading Role-Musical or Comedy for his starring role as French musician George, opposite Andie MacDowell. He and his good-looking son Guillaume shared the role of 17th-century composer Marin Marais in the biopic Tous les matins du monde (1991). Depardieu then played a dishonest doctor in Blier’s Merci la vie/Thanks for Life (1991) and enjoyed some triumph as the domineering father of a stubborn teenage daughter in Mon pere, ce heros (1991), a role he reprised for the inferior 1994 English-language remake My Father, the Hero.

Still an in-demand actor, Depardieu made a wrong choice to play well-known explorer Christopher Columbus in 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992), but fared better as a besieged miner in Claude Berri’s Germinal (1993). He portrayed the title character in the war drama Le Colonel Chabert/Colonel Chabert (1994), costarred with Gena Rowlands in Nick Cassavetes’ Unhook the Stars (1996), played Haley Joel Osment’s imaginary friend in Bogus (1996), was cast as a tricky anarchist in the adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent (1996) before gaining praise for playing Polonius’ servant Reynaldo in Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet (1996) and Porthos to John Malkovich’s Athos, Jeremy Irons’ Aramis and Gabriel Byrne’s D’Artagnan in the swashbuckling adventure The Man in the Iron Mask (1998). He also executive produced She’s So Lovely (1997), Nick Cassavetes’ quirky modern love triangle between Robin Wright Penn, Sean Penn and John Travolta. Despite his effort on those English productions, he agreed to star in several miniseries for French television, such as “The Count of Monte Cristo” (1998) and “Balzac” (1999). Also in 1999, the actor had the title role of Obelix, opposite Christian Clavier, in the well-liked live-action adaptation of the comic books in Asterix et Obelix contre Cesar and returned to the director’s chair for the semi-autobiographical The Bridge/Un pont entre deux rives, where he also starred opposite Carole Bouquet and won a Verona Love Screens Film Festival for his performance.

Over the next years, Depardieu could be seen playing roles in such films as the Cannes-screened Vatel (2000), Betrand Blier’s Les Acteurs/The Actors (2000), 102 Dalmatians (2000), The Closet (2001), CQ (2001), Unfair Competition (2001), Vidocq (2001), Beneath the Banyan Trees (2002), Asterix and Obelix: Mission Cleopatra (2002, reprised his role of Obelix), Matt Dillon’s City of Ghosts (2002), I Am Dina (2002), director Edoardo Ponti’s Between Strangers (2002, opposite Sophia Loren), Tais-Toi/Shut Up (2003, with Jean Reno), Bon voyage (2003, opposite Isabelle Adjani), Nathalie (2003, with Fanny Ardant and Emmanuelle Béart), Crime Spree (2003), director Alain Chabat’s lesser comedy RRRrrrr!!! (2004), Les Temps Qui Change/Changing Times (2004), 36 Quai Des Orfevres (2004) and Nouvelle-France (2004). Meanwhile, on the small screen, he acted in the 2002 miniseries “Napoleon” and television films Volpone (2003) and Le Femme Musketeer (2004).

From 2005 to 2006, Depardieu added to his impressive resume appearances in Boudu (2005), Combien Tu M'aimes?/How Much Do You Love Me? (2005), Last Holiday (2006) and writer-director Xavier Giannoli’s Quand j’étais chanteur/ The Singer (2006). Recently, he played Louis Leplée on La Môme/ The Passionate Life of Edith Piaf (2007) and George on Michou d’Auber (2007).

“I’m about to stop filming! I'm a guy that is leaving. And for once, I’m not drunk! I’ve got nothing to lose. I did 170 films and I’ve got nothing else to prove. I’m not going to keep up like this for ever. I finish in style with film director Thomas Gilou, who has made lots of successes and has made a really good film with this Michou D’Auber. I retire in style with this film. It’s wonderful.” Gerard Depardieu

Though he had publicly declared his intention to retire from screen acting late 2005, Depardieu is scheduled to perform in at least eight upcoming projects: Bastardi (2007), Enfants de Timpelbach, Les (2007), Abbuffata, L’ (2007), Disco (2007), Knights of Manhattan (2007), Asterix at the Olympic Games (2008), Babylon A.D. (2008) and Vivaldi (2008).


  • Verona Love Screens Film Festival: Best Actor, The Bridge, 2000
  • Venice Film Festival: Career Golden Lion, 1997
  • Golden Camera: 1996
  • Montréal World Film Festival: Grand Prix Special des Amériques, 1995
  • San Francisco International Film Festival: Piper-Heidsieck Award, 1994
  • London Critics Circle Film: Actor of the Year, Cyrano de Bergerac, 1992
  • César: Best Actor, Cyrano de Bergerac, 1991
  • Cannes Film Festival: Best Actor, Cyrano de Bergerac, 1990
  • Golden Globe: Best Actor in a Leading Role-Musical or Comedy, Green Card, 1990 Venice Film Festival: Best Actor, Police, 1985
  • National Society of Film Critics: Best Actor, Danton, 1984
  • Montréal World Film Festival: Best Actor, Danton, 1983
  • César: Best Actor, The Last Metro, 1981
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