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Born in the small country town of Chateauroux in central France, GÉRARD DEPARDIEU (Porthos) is one of the world's most respected and well-known actors

Born in the small country town of Chateauroux in central France, GÉRARD DEPARDIEU (Porthos) is one of the world's most respected and well-known actors. The Man in the Iron Mask marks his 102nd film.

The third of six children of a poor sheet metal worker, Depardieu left school at age 12 and by the time he turned sixteen, found himself in Paris, where he gravitated toward acting classes at the Theatre Nationale Populaire (TNP). Since then, his work on the stage has included starring roles in over 15 plays, including works by Marguerite Duras, Peter Hanke, David Storey, Israel Horowitz, Moliere and Natalie Sarraute, among many others.

From his motion-picture debut in Roger Leenhart's Le Beatnik et le Minet (1965), Depardieu's roles in film, theater and television have grown steadily in prominence, with his 1973 performance as one of a pair of young louts in Bertrand Blier's Going Places proving to be his breakthrough role.

Depardieu went on to star in five other films for Blier: Get Out Your Handkerchiefs, Buffet Froid, Menage, Too Beautiful For You and Merci la Vie. For Duras, he appeared in four feature films, including Nathalie Granger and Vera Baxter. Depardieu co-starred opposite Pierre Richard in a trio of successful comedies directed by Francis Veber: La Chevre, Les Comperes and Les Fugitifs.

He also made three films each for Alain Resnais, Maurice Pialat and Claude Berri. For Resnais, he starred in Stavisky, Mon Oncle D'Amerique and Je Veux Rentrer a la Maison. His films with Pialat include Loulou, Police and Sous Le Soleil du Satan, which was awarded the Palme d'Or for Best Film at the 1987 Cannes Film Festival. His collaborations with Berri include the acclaimed Jean de Florette, Uranus and Germinal, which was based on the work of Emile Zola.

Depardieu's numerous other roles include those in Francois Truffaut's The Last Metro, for which Depardieu won a French César as Best Actor; Bernardo Bertulucci's 1900; The Return of Martin Guerre, directed by Daniel Vigne; Danton, directed by Andrzej Wajda, for which Depardieu was named Best Actor by the National Society of Film Critics; and Bruno Nuytten's Camille Claudel, in which he played August Rodin opposite Isabelle Adjani's Camille.

In 1988, he reunited with actress Catherine Deneuve in director Francois Dupeyron's Drole d'Endroit pour une Rencontre, and in the same year made Deux with director Claude Zidi. His role in Jean-Paul Rappeneau's Cyrano de Bergerac won Depardieu numerous accolades, including a César as Best Actor, a Best Actor award at the 1990 Cannes Film Festival and an Academy Award® nomination as Best Actor.

In 1990, he joined Andie McDowell in his first major English-language role in Green Card, directed by Peter Weir, a performance which earned him a Golden Globe as Best Actor in a Comedy. The following year, he starred as Christopher Columbus in Ridley Scott's epic, 1492: Conquest of Paradise, as well as the Satyajit Ray-directed Branches of the Tree/Shakha Proshaka. He also starred in Mon Pere ce Heros in 1991, and the American remake My Father the


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