Flashback
A look back at this day in film history
November 08
Alain Delon November 8, 1935
Alain Delon born

Alain Delon, France’s great, solemnly handsome leading man, was born November 8, 1935. Leaving home when he was 14, Delon worked in a butcher’s shop, enlisted in the French navy, and after a four-year stint, a dishonorable discharge and no acting experience, made his way into the movie business. A French actress girlfriend (Brigitte Auber) and a Hollywood talent scout had something to do with it, but by 1960 after just a few films, Delon’s native charisma took over in two celebrated roles. In René Claire’s Purple Noon, he played Patricia Highsmith’s sinewy sociopath Tom Ripley while in Lucino Visconti’s Rocco and his Brothers he was the titular self-sacrificing and virtuous character. In the late ‘60s, Delon began working with the great French director Jean-Pierre Melville, playing uber-cool, trenchcoated criminals in the director’s famously stylized portrayals of criminal life. Delon’s life has also been rich outside of film. His wives include the actress Natalie Delon, he was engaged to Romy Schneider, and he had a child with the singer and model Nico. He also started his own production company and has a line of consumer products, wristwatches, cigarettes and sunglasses, the latter of which were worn by Chow Yun-fat in John Woo’s A Better Tomorrow. Delon won France’s Cesar Award in 1984 for Bertrand Blier’s Notre Histoire, and has been largely out of the acting business since the late 1990s.


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