Gérard Xavier Marcel Depardieu (UK: /ˈdɛpɑːrdjɜː, ˌdɛpɑːrˈdjɜː/,[1][2] US: /-ˈdjʌ, ˌdpɑːrˈdj/,[1][3][4] French: [ʒeʁaʁ ɡzavje maʁsɛl dəpaʁdjø] ; born 27 December 1948) is a French actor, known to be one of the most prolific in film history. He has completed over 250 films since 1967, almost exclusively as a lead.[5][6] Depardieu has worked with over 150 film directors whose most notable collaborations include Jean-Luc Godard,[7] François Truffaut,[8] Maurice Pialat,[9] Alain Resnais,[10] Claude Chabrol,[11] Ridley Scott[12][13] and Bernardo Bertolucci.[6] He is the second highest-grossing actor in the history of French cinema behind Louis de Funès.[14][15][16] As of January 2022, his body of work also includes countless television productions, 18 stage plays, 16 records and 9 books.[17][18][19] He is mostly known as a character actor[20] and for having portrayed numerous leading historical and fictitious figures of the Western world including Georges Danton, Joseph Stalin, Honoré de Balzac, Alexandre Dumas, Auguste Rodin, Cyrano de Bergerac, Jean Valjean, Edmond Dantès, Christopher Columbus, Obélix, and Dominique Strauss-Kahn.[21]

Gérard Depardieu
Gérard Xavier Marcel Depardieu

(1948-12-27) 27 December 1948 (age 75)
Châteauroux, France
  • France
  • Russia
  • United Arab Emirates
Years active1967–present
(m. 1971; div. 1996)
Children4, including Guillaume and Julie

Depardieu is a Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur and Chevalier of the Ordre national du Mérite. He was granted citizenship of Russia in January 2013 (officially adopted name in Russian: Жерар Ксавие Депардьё, romanizedZherar Ksavie Depardyo), and became a cultural ambassador of Montenegro during the same month.

Depardieu has received acclaim for his performances in The Last Metro (1980), for which he won the César Award for Best Actor, in Police (1985), for which he won the Volpi Cup for Best Actor, Jean de Florette (1986), and Cyrano de Bergerac (1990), for which he won the Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival and his second César Award for Best Actor as well as garnering a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor. He co-starred in Peter Weir's comedy Green Card (1990), winning a Golden Globe Award, and later acted in many big-budget Hollywood films, including Ridley Scott's 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992), Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet (1996), Randall Wallace's The Man in the Iron Mask (1998), and Ang Lee's Life of Pi (2012).

Depardieu has been repeatedly accused of sexual assault. The French authorities have charged him with rape and, since 2021, have had him under formal investigation. Depardieu has denied any wrongdoing and has not been convicted in connection with any of the accusations against him, but he was stripped of the National Order of Quebec in 2023.

Early life edit

Depardieu in 1975 on the set of Novecento

Gérard Depardieu was born on 27 December 1948 in Châteauroux, Indre, France. He is one of the five children of Anne Jeanne Josèphe (née Marillier), a stay-at-home mother known as "La Lilette", and René Maxime Lionel Depardieu (better known in his neighborhood as "Dédé" because he could write only two letters),[22]: 12  a metal worker and volunteer fireman.[23][24] His father and mother were both born in 1923 and both died in 1988.

Gérard Depardieu grew up in poverty in a two-room apartment at 39 rue du Maréchal-Joffre, Châteauroux, in a proletarian family with five brothers and sisters.[22]: 19  Gérard helped his mother in the deliveries of his younger brothers and sisters.[25][26] He spent more time on the streets than in school, leaving at the age of 13. Practically illiterate and half stammering, he learned to read only later.[27] He worked at a printworks, while participating in boxing matches.[28] He also became involved in selling stolen goods, and was put on probation.[29]

During a difficult adolescence, he "got by" through committing theft and smuggling all kinds of goods (cigarettes, alcohol), among others with the GIs of the large American air base of Châteauroux-Déols. He also acted as a bodyguard for prostitutes who came down from Paris on weekends, the GIs' payday.[30][31] His family nicknamed him "Pétard" or "Pétarou", because of the habit he had acquired of farting incessantly, in all places.[22]: 23 

In 1968, Depardieu's childhood best friend Jacky Merveille, also a kingpin from Châteauroux, died in a car accident, prompting him to take decisive control over his future.[22]: 37 

Depardieu at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival

Acting career edit

At the age of sixteen, Depardieu left Châteauroux for Paris. There, he began acting in the new comedy theatre Café de la Gare, along with Patrick Dewaere, Romain Bouteille, Sotha, Coluche, and Miou-Miou.[32] He studied theater under Jean-Laurent Cochet. Regardless of his lack of culture, he heavily studied the classics and followed a therapy to correct his disastrous diction and memory. Moreover, through his first wife, Élisabeth Guignot, he discovered the Parisian bourgeoisie. Thus, he met Agnès Varda and her husband Jacques Demy. His first film role to gain attention was playing Jean-Claude in Bertrand Blier's comedy Les Valseuses (Going Places, 1974).[33] Other prominent early films include Barbet Schroeder's controversial Maîtresse (1975), a starring role in Bernardo Bertolucci's historical epic 1900 (1976), with Robert De Niro, and a role in François Truffaut's The Last Metro (1980), with Catherine Deneuve for which he won his first César Award for Best Actor. Depardieu and Deneuve have made nine more films together since then.

Depardieu's international profile rose as a result of his performance as a doomed, hunchbacked farmer in the film Jean de Florette (1986) and received notice for his starring role in Cyrano de Bergerac (1990), for which he won his second César Award for Best Actor, the Cannes Film Festival for Best Actor, and received a nomination for an Academy Award. Depardieu co-starred in Peter Weir's English language romantic comedy Green Card (1991), for which he won a Golden Globe Award. He has since had other roles in other English language films, including Ridley Scott's 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992), Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet (1996), 102 Dalmatians (2000, Between Strangers (2002), and Ang Lee's Life of Pi (2012). He played Obélix in the four live-action Astérix films in which he is said to have discovered Mélanie Laurent when she was fourteen.[34] In 2009, he took part in a rare performance of Sardou's La Haine at the Festival de Radio France et Montpellier Languedoc Roussillon, with Fanny Ardant; subsequently broadcast on France Musique.[35] In 2013, he starred in an independent film titled A Farewell to Fools.[36] Depardieu featured as a main character in Antwerp (Edinburgh Festival 2014), a play in The Europeans Trilogy (Bruges, Antwerp, Tervuren) by Paris-based UK playwright Nick Awde. In 2014, he starred in the controversial Welcome to New York in the thinly-disguised impersonation of disgraced former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn.[37]

Personal life edit

Depardieu with Carole Bouquet at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival

In 1970, Depardieu married Élisabeth Guignot, with whom he had two children, actor Guillaume (1971–2008) and actress Julie (b. 1973). On 28 January 1992, while separated from Guignot, he had a daughter, Roxanne, with the model Karine Silla (sister of producer Virginie Besson-Silla). In 1996, he divorced Guignot and began a relationship with actress Carole Bouquet, his partner from 1997 to 2005.[38]

On 14 July 2006, he had a son, Jean, with French-Cambodian Hélène Bizot (daughter of François Bizot, not actress Hélène Bizot).[39][40] Since 2005, Depardieu has lived with Clémentine Igou.

On 13 October 2008, Depardieu's son Guillaume died from pneumonia at the age of 37. Guillaume's health had been adversely affected by drug addiction and a 1995 motorcycle crash that eventually required the amputation of his right leg in 2003. Depardieu and Guillaume had a turbulent relationship but had reconciled prior to Guillaume's death.[41]

In September 2020, Depardieu converted to Eastern Orthodox Christianity in Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Paris.[42]

Health edit

On 18 May 1998, Depardieu had a motorcycle accident with a high blood alcohol content, of 2.5 g/L [43] on the way to the shooting of Asterix and Obelix vs. Caesar, by Claude Zidi. He was prescribed forty days off work.[44]

In 2000, Depardieu underwent heart bypass surgery after two weeks of chest pains.[45]

As Depardieu weighed 150 kilograms (330 lb) at the end of 2008, film critic Pascal Mérigeau commented on Depardieu's large amounts of food consumption, "at lunch he ingests 1 kilogram (2.2 lb) of red meat, swallows handfuls of saltine crackers".[46]

In 2012 he was hit by a car while riding his scooter in Paris.[47] The same year, while intoxicated with 1.8 g/L of alcohol in the blood, he had another scooter accident, without injury and without collision with another party.[48] Since the 2000s, the actor has suffered at least seven motorcycle or scooter accidents.[49]

In September 2014, Depardieu stated he drank twelve, thirteen or fourteen bottles of alcohol daily, starting at 10:00 a.m., drinking champagne, wine, and pastis, and ending the day with vodka, whisky, or both. He said: "I'm never totally drunk, just a bit of a pain in the ass".[50] Laurent Audiot, the chef of the Parisian restaurant La Fontaine Gaillon, compared Depardieu to Gargantua, saying that "he has excessive energy and he compensates with food, but sometimes it takes on incredible proportions".[51]

Sexual assault and rape allegations edit

In a 1978 interview, Depardieu reportedly confirmed a story that he first participated in a rape when he was nine years old and that he had participated in more rapes since then. He reportedly stated there were "too many [rapes] to count... There was nothing wrong with it. The girls wanted to be raped. I mean, there's no such thing as rape. It's only a matter of a girl putting herself in a situation where she wants to be." The story re-emerged in Time magazine in 1991.[52] On 15 March 1991, Depardieu's American publicist Lois Smith[53] stated, "he's sorry, but it happened."[citation needed] The National Organization for Women requested an apology from Depardieu.[52] Later that month, Depardieu's French publicist Claude Devy discounted the statements made by Smith, and Depardieu threatened legal action against any media outlet that published the comments.[53] Depardieu's team said his words were mistranslated and he only admitted to having witnessed rapes. Time refused to retract the story.[54]

In August 2018, Depardieu was accused of sexual assault and rape by a 22-year-old actress and dancer.[55] The actress reported being assaulted twice by Depardieu in his home during rehearsal sessions. The unnamed actress made her statement to police in Lambesc, southern France, after which the case was passed to prosecutors in the capital. Depardieu denied the allegations.[56] In 2019, the charges were dropped after a nine-month police investigation.[57] The case was reopened in October 2020 after his accuser refiled the complaint.[58] In February 2021, it was announced that French authorities had charged Depardieu with rape in December 2020, stemming from the incident in August 2018. According to Depardieu's lawyer, Hervé Témime, speaking to Le Monde, the actor rejects the allegation.[59] In March 2022, the Paris Court of Appeal rejected Depardieu's attempt to have the charges dropped and announced the actor will remain under formal investigation. Following this investigation, the case will either be brought to trial or dismissed.[60][61]

In April 2023, 13 women accused Depardieu of sexual assault and sexual harassment pertaining to incidents that occurred between 2004 and 2022.[62][63][64][65][66][67][68][69][70][71]

On December 19, 2023, Ruth Baza [es; fr], a Spanish author and journalist told La Vanguardia, Depardieu had kissed and groped her without her consent when she was in Paris in 1995, aged 23 and suffering from chronic anorexia, to interview him for Cinemania magazine and has filed a complaint.[72][73] She explains that she hid the story during these years, until the revelations on April, which had a deep impact on her and led her to discover in her diary of the time a description of the events.[74] By rereading her personal notes, she remembered this traumatic event that her memory had buried.[75]

One of his accusers, Emmanuelle Debever, who had made allegations against Depardieu, committed suicide and died on the 6th of December 2023 after one week at the hospital.[76]

On 25 December 2023, a group of over 50 French actors and other prominent figures including Charlotte Rampling, Carla Bruni, and Carole Bouquet, denounced the “lynching” of Depardieu, in an open letter published in French newspaper Le Figaro. The group claims the star is the victim of a “torrent of hatred”, adding “Gérard Depardieu is probably the greatest of all actors”.[77][78] His former partner Karine Silla defends him.[79]

Some of his colleagues have spoken out against him, including Sophie Marceau, Muriel Robin and Swann Arlaud.[80][81][82][83][84]

Removal from the National Order of Quebec edit

On 13 December 2023, Gérard Depardieu was stripped of the National Order of Quebec. This was prompted by what Quebec premier François Legault called "scandalous remarks made by Gérard Depardieu in front of the cameras" which had, in the premier's view, "shocked the international public, with good reason".[85] He had been appointed as a Knight of the National Order of Quebec in 2002 by premier Bernard Landry.[86][87]

Citizenship edit

Depardieu with Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Russia, 5 January 2013

Depardieu has been an official resident of Néchin, Belgium, since 7 December 2012.[88] French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault criticised his move.[89] On 15 December 2012, Depardieu publicly stated he was handing back his French passport.[90][91] On 3 January 2013, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an Executive Order granting Russian citizenship to Depardieu.[92] In his first interview thereafter, Depardieu attacked Putin's critics for "lacking vision".[93] In his autobiography, Depardieu said Putin "immediately liked my hooligan side."[94] In February 2013, he registered as a resident of Saransk. Also in January 2013, he was appointed a cultural ambassador for Montenegro.[95] In the summer of 2015, Depardieu's films were banned from television and cinemas in Ukraine due to his remarks questioning Ukraine's right to exist as an independent state.[96] In February 2022, Depardieu revealed that he had become a citizen of the United Arab Emirates, although he did not specify when this occurred.[97] In March 2022, he condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine and accused Russian President Putin of "crazy, unacceptable excesses".[98]

Wealth edit

In 1983, Depardieu created DD Productions to co-produce his films. Apart from his acting career, Depardieu is also a viticulturist, having invested in vineyards at the end of the 1980s. He owns wine estates in the Médoc, Hérault, Burgundy, Eastern Europe, Maghreb, and South America. In addition, Depardieu is the owner of the Château de Tigné (Tigne Castle) in Anjou. He also collects works of art and motorcycles.[99] In 2003 Depardieu bought the restaurant La Fontaine Gaillon in the 2nd arrondissement of Paris. Its wine cellar, which consisted of bottles of Château Haut-Brion, Château Latour, Meursault and Saint-Émilion, was rewarded by the Gault Millau guide. La Fontaine Gaillon was described as "a Parisian institution".[100] In Paris, Depardieu owns luxury restaurants, a Japanese delicatessen, a wine bar, and a seafood shop.[101][99] By 2012, he employed over a hundred people in France through fifteen companies.[99]

In 2013, Depardieu's wealth was valued at US$200 million.[102] Depardieu owns a luxury hotel built in 1805 in the 6th arrondissement of Paris valued at 50 million euros ($53.5 million).[103] Depardieu sold La Fontaine Gaillon in 2019.[100]

Awards edit

Depardieu has been nominated for the César for Best Actor in a Leading Role 17 times during his career and won it twice, in 1981 and 1991. He was also nominated for an Oscar in 1990 for his role in Cyrano de Bergerac.

Association Year Category Nominated Work Result[citation needed]
7 d'Or Night 1999 Audience Vote: Best Actor – Fiction Le Comte de Monte Cristo Won
20/20 Awards 2011 Best Actor Cyrano de Bergerac Nominated
Academy Awards 1991 Best Actor Nominated
BAFTA Awards 1988 Best Actor in a Leading Role Jean de Florette Nominated
1992 Cyrano de Bergerac Nominated
British Film Institute 1989 BFI Fellowship Won
Cesar Awards 1976 Best Actor 7 morts sur ordonnance Nominated
1977 La dernière femme Nominated
1978 Dites-lui que je ľaime Nominated
1979 Le sucre Nominated
1981 Le dernier metro Won
1983 Danton Nominated
1984 Les compères Nominated
1985 Fort Saganne Nominated
1986 Police Nominated
1988 Sous le soleil de Satan Nominated
1989 Camille Claudel Nominated
1990 Trop belle pour toi Nominated
1991 Cyrano de Bergerac Won
1995 Le colonel Chabert Nominated
2007 Quand j'étais chanteur Nominated
2011 Mammuth Nominated
2016 Valley of Love Nominated
Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association 1991 Best Actor Cyrano de Bergerac Nominated
David di Donatello Awards 1991 Best Foreign Actor Nominated
European Film Awards 1990 European Actor of the Year Nominated
1998 Outstanding European Achievement in World Cinema The Man in the Iron Mask Nominated
Étoiles ďOr 2011 Best Actor Mammuth Won
Globes de Cristal Awards 2007 Best Actor Quand j'étais chanteur Nominated
2011 Mammuth Nominated
Golden Camera Awards 1996 Best International Actor Les anges gardiens Won
Golden Globe Awards 1991 Best Actor – Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy Green Card Won
Hamburg Film Festival 2006 Douglas Sirk Award Won
Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival 2011 Award of Excellence Grenouille d'hiver Won
I've Seen Films – International Film Festival 2012 Best Actor Won
Jules Verne Awards 2009 Jules Verne Lifetime Achievement Award Won
London Critics Circle Film Awards 1992 Actor of the Year Cyrano de Bergerac
Green Card
Lumières Awards 2007 Best Actor Quand j'étais chanteur Won
2016 Valley of Love Nominated
2017 The End Nominated
Montréal World Film Festival 1983 Best Actor Danton Won
1995 Grand Prix Special des Amériques Won
1999 Grand Prix des Amériques Un pont entre deux rives Nominated
National Society of Film Critics Awards 1977 Best Actor La derniére femme Nominated
1984 Le retour de Martin Guerre
New York Film Critics Circle Awards 1983 Best Actor Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards 2003 Outstanding Miniseries Napoleon Nominated
San Francisco International Film Festival 1994 Piper-Heidsieck Award Won
Telluride Film Festival 1990 Silver Medallion Award Won
The Stinkers Bad Movie Awards 2000 Worst Supporting Actor 102 Dalmatians Nominated
2000 Worst On-Screen Couple (shared with Glenn Close) Nominated
2000 Worst On-Screen Hairstyle Nominated
Venice Film Festival 1997 Career Golden Lion Won
Verona Love Screens Film Festival 2000 Best Actor Un pont entre deux rives Won

Filmography edit

See also edit

References edit

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Further reading edit

  • Collins, Lauren (25 February 2013). "L'étranger". Annals of Celebrity. The New Yorker. Vol. 89, no. 2. pp. 58–65. Retrieved 2 May 2015.

External links edit