Born in Paris, France, Marceau was raised by her father, Benoit, a café owner and truck driver, and her mother, Simone, who also served as an owner of the family's café. Her parents divorced when she was nine years old. With the encouragement of her mother, Marceau took photos for a modeling agency at the same time she was cast in her first film, "The Party/La Boum" (1980), a coming-of-age teen serio-comedy where she starred as a troubled teen dealing with the divorce of her parents. The film proved to be a box office hit both in France and abroad, earning Marceau sudden international attention. As she was basking in the glow of her rapid ascent to stardom, Marceau signed an exclusive contract and starred in the sequel, "The Party 2" ("La Boum 2") (1982), though ultimately she used her own money to buy out her contract in order to expand her horizons.While alternating between comedies like "Joyeuses Paques" (1984) starring Jean-Paul Belmondo, and historical features like "Fort Saganne" (1984) with Gerard Depardieu, Marceau won acclaim as a teenaged prostitute in "L'Amour Braques" (1985), directed by Polish director Andrzej Zukawski. The actress and director, 26 years her senior, were married and had a son, Vincent, in 1995, only to separate in 2001. Meanwhile, Marceau delivered spirited performances in Maurice Pialet's "Police" (1984), "The Student" ("L'Etudiante") (1988) and the historical adventure "Chouans!" (1988), which was set during the French Civil War of 1783. Marceau went on to make her American debut in the otherwise French-made comedy, "Pacific Palisades" (1990), which she followed with a dramatic turn in "For Sacha" ("Pour Sacha") (1991) and the delightful romantic comedy, "Fanfan" (1993), co-starring Vincent Perez. Marceau finally broke though to mainstream Hollywood as the Princess of Wales in Mel Gibson's Oscar-winning epic "Braveheart" (1995), in which the luminous actress brought a much needed injection of passion and smoldering sexuality as William Wallace's paramour and secret ally. The role earned her unprecedented exposure in the states and lead to bigger and better projects.Impressed with the actress, Gibson's Icon Productions cast Marceau for the lead in yet another screen version of "Anna Karenina" (1997), which happened to be the first American adaptation of Tolstoy's novel to be filmed in Russia. Also that year, she was cast as a Swiss governess in the romance "Firelight" (1999), and was featured as Hippolyta in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (1999) opposite Kevin Kline and Michelle Pfeiffer. Following the lighthearted "Lost and Found" (1999) opposite comedian David Spade, Marceau hit the big time when she was cast as one of two main villains in "The World is Not Enough" (1999), playing an oil heiress and former lover to James Bond (Pierce Brosnan) who wants to secure a nuclear weapon. Marceau returned to French features for "La Fidélité" (2000), which marked her last film with ex-husband Andrzej Zulawski, and "Le fantôme du Louvre" (2001). Marceau journeyed to the States for Rob Reiner's romantic comedy, "Alex and Emma" (2003), before returning home once again to star in the French drama "Nelly" (2004) and the acclaimed romantic thriller "Anthony Zimmer" (2005). Staying in her native France, Marceau starred as an enigmatic woman who becomes involved with a suicidal cop (Christopher Lambert) rendered sleepless by the death of his beloved wife in the psychological thriller "Trivial" (2007). It was on this movie that Marceau struck up a romance with co-star Lambert that same year. Meanwhile, she went on to star in the history-based drama, "Female Agents" ("Les Femmes de l'ombre") (2008), which focused on a group of female resistance fighters during World War II, and followed that with the mother-daughter comedy "LOL (Laughing Out Loud)" (2008). From there, Marceau starred opposite Italian bombshell Monica Bellucci in the psychological thriller "Don't Look Back" (2009) and again turned to lighter fair with the romantic comedy "With Love from the Age of Reason" ("L'âge de raion") (2010). By Shawn Dwyer
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