Alain Delon is undoubtedly one of Europe’s most beloved actors. This 87-year-old French great is not only an actor, but also a producer and director, with an impressive career spanning over 50 years. He has inspired a generation with his piercing blue eyes and effortless Gallic charm, and continues to attract new generations, reminding the world why he has endured and become so beloved for so long.
Born on November 8, 1935, in Sceaux, a French village located in the Hauts-de-Seine region that includes the inner suburbs of Paris, Alain’s life has been nothing short of extraordinary. His mother placed him with a foster household following their divorce, and he spent his formative years as a teenager in a series of boarding schools.
After much deliberation, Alain enlisted in the French navy and was eventually assigned to Indochina. Upon his return to France, he worked as a bellboy, a clerk, and a server before deciding to settle in Rome. It was in Rome where his acting career began to take shape.
One of his earliest commercially successful films was Be Gorgeous But Shut Up (1958), starring famed French actor Jean Paul Belmondo. In the same year, he appeared in the film Christine, where he met Austrian sensation actress Romy Schneider, with whom he would begin a publicly adored romance.
Alain’s first major performance was in the critically acclaimed 1960 film Purple Noon, which was based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Talented Mr. Ripley. After a chance meeting with Italian neorealist filmmaker Luchino Visconti in the early 1960s, Alain Delon began his ascent to international stardom with the release of Rocco and His Brothers. The movie was an overnight success all across the globe.
In addition, Delon’s success with Visconti led to other partnerships with other well-known Italian filmmakers. He co-starred with Monica Vitti, an Italian actress, in Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1962 film The Eclipse. He was nominated for the Palme d’Or and the Special Jury Award at the Cannes Film Festival for his performance.
His role in Visconti’s The Leopard, an epic drama released in 1963, brought him additional international acclaim. He plays Prince Tancredi Falconeri, the nephew of an elderly Sicilian aristocrat (Burt Lancaster) caught up in the social and political upheaval of Italian unification in the middle of the nineteenth century, in the film The Leopard.
Delon’s main focus in the 1960s was breaking through in the United States, the most lucrative market for European actors at the time. Despite his best efforts in Hollywood, the French phenomenon did not achieve the level of success in America that he had hoped for.
After that, he co-starred with Dean Martin in the Western Texas Over the River. Then he went back to France and had another smash success as the assassin Frank Costello in Le Samoura (1967). Delon’s performance was groundbreaking, setting the bar for portraying compelling, challenging characters.
Delon remained a popular choice for roles in films of the noir/detective genre throughout the rest of the 1970s, with appearances in films including The Sicilian Clan, Borsalino, and Le Cercle Rouge. Curiously, it was the 1975 film Zorro that opened the door for European cinema to be known in Communist China (it was one of the first Western movies played in China after the Cultural Revolution), Japan, and Latin America.
Apart from his successful career, Alain Delon has a beautiful family. He has been married four times and has three children. However, he is most proud of his three children, who are his greatest/