Alain Fabien Maurice Marcel Delon (French: born 8 November 1935) is a French actor and businessman, with French-Swiss dual citizenship since 1999. Delon became one of Europe’s most prominent actors and screen “heart throbs” in the 1960s. He achieved critical acclaim for roles in films such as Rocco and His Brothers (1960), Purple Noon (1960), L’Eclisse (1962), The Leopard (1963), Lost Command (1966) and Le Samouraï (1967). Over the course of his career Delon worked with many well-known directors, including Luchino Visconti, Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Pierre Melville, Michelangelo Antonioni and Louis Malle.
Delon acquired Swiss citizenship on 23 September 1999, and the company managing products sold under his name is based in Geneva. He is a citizen of the community of Chêne-Bougeries in the canton of Geneva.
By now Hollywood studios were very interested in Delon and he decided to make a bid for American stardom. He was quoted in 1965 as saying:
I don’t know whether I’ll succeed or not. If I were to concentrate on working entirely here and flop it would be a disaster for me in Europe. Everything would dissolve and I would have nothing. My dream is to do one picture a year in America and one in Europe… [But America is] the top, the last step. It’s a kind of consecration… If you want to be an international star you must establish yourself in American pictures, because only they will get adequate world wide distribution. It takes only a year for an American star to become known throughout the world. But European actors consider it a big break to get their pictures shown in New York. Because of my accent I would not attempt to play Americans. I am working on removing the distinctly French inflections from my speech so that I can play all continental nationalities.
Any Number Can Play had been distributed in the US by MGM, who signed Delon to a five picture contract. The first movie of this deal was Joy House (1964), shot in France with Jane Fonda. He then followed it up with two more films for the studio: the all-star The Yellow Rolls Royce, in which Delon had a relatively small role, and Once a Thief, where he co-starred with Ann-Margret.
MGM also announced him for a Western Ready for the Tiger directed by Sam Peckinpah but the film was never made.
Delon signed a three picture deal with Columbia, for whom he appeared in the big budget action film Lost Command (1966). The studio also announced would appear in the biopic Cervantes, but this was never made.
Universal Studios used Delon in a Western, opposite Dean Martin, Texas Across the River. Seven Arts wanted to use him in The Night of the Iguana and This Property is Condemned. He did not appear in either film but was in that studio’s Is Paris Burning?. This was a massive hit in France but performed disappointingly at the US box office – as did all of Delon’s Hollywood financed films.
Along with Steve McQueen and Sean Connery he was one of the biggest stars in Japan. However he could not make headway in America.
Return to France
After six Hollywood movies Delon returned to France to make The Last Adventure. He was meant to reteam with Visconti in The Stranger but did not end up playing it
Delon then made Le Samourai with Jean-Pierre Melville, which became another classic.
Alain Delon in Belgrade, 1962
On 20 March 1959, Delon was engaged to actress Romy Schneider, whom he met when they co-starred in the film Christine (1958).
During their relationship, he had an affair with German actress, singer and model Nico. On 11 August 1962, Nico gave birth to a son, Christian Aaron “Ari”, fathered by Delon. The child was raised mostly by Delon’s parents.
In December 1963, Schneider and Delon decided to break the engagement.
On 13 August 1964, Delon married Nathalie Barthélemy. Their son, Anthony Delon, was born in September. Delon filed for divorce in late 1967 but they continued to live under the same roof.The couple divorced on 14 February 1969.
In 1968, during the shooting of the film Jeff, he met French actress Mireille Darc with whom he started a 15-year relationship, lasting until 1982.
In 1987, Delon met Dutch model Rosalie van Breemen on the set of the music video for his song “Comme au cinéma” and started a relationship. They had two children: Anouchka (25 November 1990) and Alain-Fabien (18 March 1994). The relationship ended in October 2002.
During an interview in 2013 Delon came out in support of the French far-right political party National Front, saying “The National Front, like the MCG [Geneva Citizens’ Movement] in Geneva, is very important…I encourage it and I perfectly understand it”.
Alain Delon lives in Chêne-Bougeries in the Canton of Geneva, Switzerland with his two youngest children.
Alain Delon was good friends with, among others, Argentine world champion boxer Carlos Monzon.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY ALAIN DELON