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Alain Delon


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Early life

Delon was born in Sceaux, Île-de-France, not far from Paris. His parents, Fabien and Édith, divorced when Delon was young. Both remarried, and Delon has a half-sister and two half-brothers. He attended a Roman Catholic boarding school, the first of several schools from which he was expelled because of unruly behavior. Teachers once tried to convince him to enter the priesthood because of his aptitude in religious studies.

At 14, Delon left school, and worked for a brief time at his stepfather's butcher shop. He enlisted in the army three years later, and in 1953 was sent to fight in the First Indochina War. Delon has said that out of his five years of military service he spent 11 months in prison for being "undisciplined". After being dishonorably discharged from the army he returned to Paris. He had no money, and got by on whatever employment he could find. He spent time working as a waiter, a porter, and a sales clerk. During this time he became friends with the actress Brigitte Auber, and joined her on a trip to the Cannes Film Festival, where his film career would begin.

[edit] Career

At Cannes, Delon was seen by a talent scout for David O. Selznick. After a successful screen test Selznick offered him a contract, provided he learn English. Delon returned to Paris to study English, but when he met French director Yves Allégret, he was convinced that he should stay in France to begin his career. Selznick allowed Delon to cancel his contract, and Allégret gave him his debut in the film Quand la Femme s'en Mêle (When the Woman Butts In). Delon then got to show a comedic aspect of himself in the film Faibles Femmes (Women Are Weak). This was also the first of his films to be seen in America, where it became a success.

In 1960, Delon appeared in René Clément's Purple Noon, which was based on the Patricia Highsmith novel The Talented Mr. Ripley. He played protagonist Tom Ripley to critical acclaim.

He then appeared in Luchino Visconti's Rocco and His Brothers. Critic Bosley Crowther of the New York Times said Delon's work was : "touchingly pliant and expressive." John Beaufort in the Christian Science Monitor said:

"Rocco's heartbroken steadfastness furnishes the film with the foremost of its ironic tragedies ... ts believability rests finally on Mr. Delon's compelling performance."

Delon made his stage debut in 1961 in John Ford’s play, 'Tis Pity She’s a Whore alongside Romy Schneider in Paris. Visconti directed the production. Delon would work with him again for Il Gattopardo (The Leopard). Delon also worked with Jean-Pierre Melville, who directed him in Un Flic, Le Cercle Rouge, and Le Samouraï.

In 1964, the Cinémathèque Française held a showcase of Delon's films and Delon started a production company, Delbeau Production, with Georges Beaume. They produced a film called L’insoumis, which had to be re-edited due to legal issues.

Delon then started his own production company, Adel, and starred in the company’s first film, Jeff. Delon followed the success of the film with Borsalino, which became one of France’s highest grossing films of the time.

In 1973, he made a duet with the French pop singer Dalida on "Paroles, paroles", which was a big hit in France, Japan, Canada, and many other countries.[citation needed]

He was awarded the Best Actor César Awards (French equivalent of Oscars) for his role in Bertrand Blier's Notre histoire (1984). Then followed a string of box office failures in the late 1980s and 1990s, culminating in the failure of Patrice Leconte's Une chance sur deux. Delon announced his decision to give up acting in 1997, although he still occasionally accepts roles.

In 1990, he worked with auteur Jean-Luc Godard, on Nouvelle vague, in which he played twins. In 2003, the Walter Reade Theater showed a series of Delon's films under the aegis, Man in the Shadows: The Films of Alain Delon.

Most recently, it has been announced that he will play a role in a film called L’Ennemi public n°1, a biopic about Jacques Mesrine with Vincent Cassel in the title role.

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