Valérie Lemercier

Valérie Lemercier

A versatile comedienne, writer, director and singer, Valérie Lemercier had a long career making people laugh. She not only starred in the highest grossing film in French history, "Les Visiteurs," but also won two prestigious César Awards, the French equivalent of the Oscars. Lemercier was born in Dieppe, France. Growing up on a farm in Gonzeville, Upper Normandy in a financially secure family, she had a strict, disciplined upbringing where hard work was valued over all. During her childhood, she discovered a love of entertaining her family. At 18, Lemercier left for Paris with 10 100-franc notes in her pocket. She studied acting with the well-known French instructor Jean Chevrin while working in department stores and doing other odd jobs, until she made her big screen debut for the acclaimed French director Louis Malle in his comedy "May Fools" (1990). She gained her first César nomination for the comedy "L'Opération Corned-Beef" (1991), directed by Jean-Marie Poiré, before making her big screen breakthrough with Poiré's next film, the time-travel comedy "Les Visiteurs" (1993), which became the highest grossing film in French history and won her the first of her two César Awards for Best Supporting Actress. The second came with her role as a disenchanted actress in the bittersweet comedy "Avenue Montaigne" (2006). Along with staying in high demand as a comic actress, Lemercier also branched into writing and directing, beginning with "Quadrille" (1997); her third César nomination, and first for Best Actress, came with another film she wrote and directed, "Palais royal!" (2005). Lemercier's farcical "100% Cachemire" (2013) starred herself and Gilles Lellouche as a trendy Parisian couple who decide that adopting a child will be the perfect fashion accessory.