||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (March 2013)|
At the César awards ceremony.
28 May 1944 |
|Years active||Since 1958|
1966 Masculin Féminin
Best Actor (Thessaloniki Film Festival)
1996 Pour rire!
Early life 
Born in Paris, Léaud made his major debut as an actor at the age of 14 as Antoine Doinel, a semi-autobiographical character based on the life events of French film director François Truffaut, in The 400 Blows. To cast the two adolescents, Truffaut published an announcement in France-Soir and auditioned several hundred children in September and October 1958. Jean Domarchi, a critic at Cahiers du cinéma, had earlier recommended the son of an assistant scriptwriter, Pierre Léaud, and the actress Jacqueline Pierreux.
Truffaut was immediately captivated by the fourteen-year-old adolescent, who had already appeared the previous year with Jean Marais in Georges Lampin's La Tour prends garde! He recognized traits they both shared, "for example a certain suffering with regard to the family...With, however, this fundamental difference: though we were both rebels, we hadn't expressed our rebellion in the same way. I preferred to cover up and lie. Jean-Pierre, on the contrary, seeks to hurt, shock and wants it to be known...Why? Because he's unruly, while I was sly. Because his excitability requires that things happen to him, and when they don't occur quickly enough, he provokes them."
Jean-Pierre Léaud, then in the eighth grade at a private school in Pontigny, was far from an ideal student. The director of the school wrote this to Truffaut, "I regret to inform you that Jean Pierre is more and more 'unmanageable'. Indifference, arrogance, permanent defiance, lack of discipline in all its forms. He has twice been caught leafing through pornographic pictures in the dorm. He is developing more and more into an emotionally disturbed case." But this unstable boy, who often ran away with the older students on their nights out, could also be brilliant, generous, and affectionate. Extremely cultured for his age, he was already very good at writing, and he even claimed to Truffaut that he had written a "verse tragedy", Torquatus.
Acting career 
Léaud starred in four more Truffaut films depicting the life of Doinel, spanning a period of 20 years — after the short-film Antoine et Colette in 1962 — beside actress Claude Jade as his girlfriend, and then wife, Christine. Those films are Stolen Kisses (1968), Bed and Board (1970) and Love on the Run (1979). He also collaborated with Truffaut on non-Antoine Doinel films like Two English Girls and La Nuit américaine and became the actor most commonly affiliated with him. Although Antoine Doinel is his most famous character, he often found his performances in other films to be compared to his Doinel character whether there were legitimate similarities or not.
He is one of the most visible and well-known actors to be associated with the French New Wave film movement and, aside from his work with Truffaut, collaborated with Jean-Luc Godard (9 films), Jean Eustache, Jacques Rivette and Agnes Varda. 1973 was perhaps the peak of his professional career when he had three critically acclaimed films released: Truffaut's La Nuit américaine, Bertolucci's Last Tango in Paris and Eustache's The Mother and the Whore.
In 1966, he won the Silver Bear for Best Actor at the 16th Berlin International Film Festival for his role in Jean-Luc Godard's Masculin, féminin. He was nominated for a César Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1988 for Les Keufs and was awarded an Honorary Cesar for lifetime achievement in 2000.
Léaud acted in films by other influential directors, such as Pier Paolo Pasolini, Jerzy Skolimowski, Bernardo Bertolucci, Aki Kaurismäki and more recently Olivier Assayas and Tsai Ming-liang. He appeared with a hero of his, Marlon Brando in the Bertolucci film Last Tango in Paris, although the two never met, since all of Léaud's scenes were shot on Saturdays and Brando refused to work on Saturdays.
Honors and Awards 
- (1961) Nominated for the BAFTA Film Award for being the "Most Promising Newcomer to Leading Film Roles" for his role in The 400 Blows (1959).
- (1966) Won the Silver Bear for Best Actor at the Berlin International Film Festival for his role in Masculin Féminin.
- (1987) Nominated for César Award for Best Supporting Actor at the Cesar Awards for his role in the film Les keufs.
- (1996) Won "Best Actor" at the Thessaloniki Film Festival for his role in Pour rire!.
- (2000) Won the Honorary Cesar at the Cesar Awards.
- (2001) Shared the FIPRESCI Prize with Bertrand Bonello for his role in The Pornographer.
Selected filmography 
- Baecque, Antoine de; Toubiana, Serge (4 September 2000). Truffaut. University of California Press. p. 129. ISBN 978-0-520-22524-4. Retrieved 29 March 2011.
- "Essay on Léaud's career".
- "Berlinale 1966: Prize Winners". berlinale.de. Retrieved 2010-02-24.
- Monaco, James (1978). Celebrity: the media as image makers. Dell Pub. Co. p. 140. ISBN 978-0-440-50991-2. Retrieved 29 March 2011.
- Jean-Pierre Léaud at the Internet Movie Database
- Biography on newwavefilm.com
- Audition for The 400 Blows on YouTube
- List of honors and awards