French actor Gerard Depardieu was one of the most highly visible character actors in the history of films, though not always for his work. Born in Chateauroux, France, Depardieu had 4 siblings, and lived with his mother, a homemaker, and his father who worked in the metal trade and volunteered as a fireman. Depardieu began working early in life, taking a job at a print works when he was just 13. During his adolescence he got into petty crime and was at one point put on probation. Depardieu left his hometown for Paris when he was 16 years old and immediately began acting in a comedy theatre known as Café de la Gare. He also studied dance during this period. Depardieu's big break came in 1974 when he played Jean-Claude in the film "Les Valseuses" (1974). Early in his career he also appeared in director Bernardo Bertolucci's movie "1900" (1976) and "The Last Metro" (1980), directed by Francois Truffaut. He appeared in several movies that made a splash overseas, including "Cyrano de Bergerac" (1990), for which he won a Cesar Award for Best Actor and was nominated for an Academy Award. Depardieu did a number of American movies following this international breakthrough success, including "Green Card" (1990), "Hamlet" (1996) and "My Father the Hero" (1994). In the 2000s and the 2010s Depardieu appeared in several stage productions in Europe and the United Kingdom. Depardieu's personal life had complications including charges of assault, sexual misconduct, and rape and came under fire from the press for urinating into a water bottle while on an airplane taxiing the runway in Paris. Depardieu had three children, one of whom died in 2008 at the age of 37 of pneumonia.
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