Tuesday, October 25, 2011
GET PERSONAL: ALAIN DELON
Alain Delon shot to superstardom in the golden age of French cinema for his Bond-like attitude and Bardot-like appeal. He was born on November 8, 1935 in Sceaux, Seine, France (now Hauts-de-Seine) - a middle-class Parisian suburb. His parents divorced four years later, both re-marrying not long after. Delon was juggled between both families in his youth. As a child he attended various Roman Catholic schools, from which we was expelled for disorderly or unruly conduct. At 14, he decided to drop out of school altogether.
Delon began working at his father's butcher shop before enlisting in the French Army. He served in the army for four years, 11 months of which he spent in prison - again for disorderly conduct. After his four year stint, he was dishonorably discharged and he returned to Paris. Without money or education, Delon found odd jobs wherever he could. He worked as a waiter, or sales clerk, or secretary to pay the bills. During this time, Delon became good friends with actress Brigitte Auber, who invited him to accompany her to the Cannes Film Festival.
While in Cannes, Delon was scouted by the famous David O Selznick. After a preliminary screen-test, Delon was offered an American film contract, provided he learned English. Delon returned to Paris and started English lessons, ultimately deciding it was in his best interest to start his career in France. Selznick agreed to release him from his contract and Delon began looking for work in French film.
Delon met french director Yves Allegret, who offered him a role in an upcoming film, Quand la Femme S'en Mele (When a Woman Butts In). Allegret, impressed with Delon's work, cast him once again in his following film Women Are Weak/Three Murderesses, which was released in America. The film's success in America shot Delon to the A-list in France. Every French director wanted to work with him - and most did. His most important collaborations were with Rene Clément, Luchino Visconti, Bertrand Biler, and Jean-Luc Godard. He portrayed some of the most pivotal characters in cannonical works of literature in their film adaptations and was almost immediately accepted as a serious dramatic actor, despite having no formal training.
In 1997 Delon made the decision to give up acting. He opened a production company and acquired control of an import-export company in Geneva.
In 1959, Delon was engaged to actress Romy Schneider. During their engagement, Delon had an affair with German singer Nico, which caused Schneider to call off the wedding. Delon was later married to Nathalie Barthelemy, with whom he had his first son, Anthony. The couple divorced and Delon began dating actress Mireille Darc. The couple dated for nearly 15 years until the mid 1980s. Delon then met model Rosalie van Breeman, with whom he had two additional children later in life; a daughter, Anouschka and a son, Alain-Fabian. Delon currently lives in Geneva Switzerland with his two youngest children.