French actor and international film star with a versatile talent.
Born in Châteauroux, central France, Depardieu initially took up acting as a therapy for persistently unruly and semicriminal behaviour. Drama-school training was combined with a teenage film debut in the short Le Beatnik et le minet (1965). Immensely hard-working, Depardieu was seldom out of work thereafter, maintaining a serious stage career while at the same time pursuing success on screen. In the cinema his talent was valued by such eminent directors as Resnais, Bertolucci, Wajda, and Truffaut. He made his own debut as a director with a movie version of a stage production of Le Tartuffe (1984).
Despite having successfully played many contemporary roles, Depardieu has always seemed happier in such costume and classic roles as Danton (1982), The Return of Martin Guerre (1982), Jean de Florette (1986), and his hugely successful Cyrano de Bergerac (1989). Depardieu's first English-speaking role, in Green Card, came in 1990, when he won a Golden Globe for best actor in a musical or comedy. In 1992 Depardieu was chosen as president of the jury of the 45th Cannes International Film Festival. He has continued to enjoy success in historical dramas, such as the film version of Zola's classic of industrial confrontation Germinal (1993), Hamlet (1996), and The Man in the Iron Mask (1997).
Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).