Alain Delon turns 77 today. Alain Fabien Maurice Marcel Delon, a French-Swiss actor. He rose quickly to stardom, and by the age of 23 was already being compared to French actors such as Gérard Philipe and Jean Marais, as well as American actor James Dean. He was even called the male Brigitte Bardot.
Over the course of his career, Delon has worked with many well-known directors, including Luchino Visconti, Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Pierre Melville, Michelangelo Antonioni and Louis Malle.
At 14, Delon left school, and worked for a brief time at his stepfather’s butcher shop. He enlisted in the French Navy three years later, and in 1953/54 he served as a fusilier marin in the First Indochina War. Delon has said that out of his four years of military service he spent 11 months in prison for being “undisciplined”.
In 1956, after being dishonorably discharged from the military, he returned to France. He didn’t have any money, and got by on whatever employment he could find. He spent time working as a waiter, a porter, a secretary 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.
Delon made his stage debut in 1961 in John Ford’s play “Tis Pity She’s a Whore” in Paris. He was awarded the Best Actor César Award for his role in Bertrand Blier’s Notre histoire (1984), and portrayed the aristocratic dandy Baron de Charlus in a film adaptation of Marcel Proust’s novel Swann in Love in the same year. Delon announced his decision to give up acting in 1997, although he still occasionally accepts roles. “I do very well three things: my job, stupidities and children,” Alain Delon said about himself.