Karyo at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival
October 4, 1953 |
|Years active||1982 – present|
|Spouse(s)||Isabelle Pasco (divorced)|
Tchéky Karyo (French pronunciation: [tʃeki kɑʁˈjo]; born Baruh Djaki Karyo; October 4, 1953) is a Turkish-born French actor and musician. Beginning his career as an actor on stage in classical and contemporary works, he began to work as a character actor in films in the 1980s. He has acted in numerous films by Hollywood and French directors, including Luc Besson.
He was named Baruh Djaki Karyo at birth in 1953 in Istanbul, Turkey; his mother was Greek and his father was Turkish Jewish. When he was young, his family moved to Paris, France, where he grew up. The spelling of his name, Djaki, was changed to Tchéky in a form of French transliteration. As a young man, Karyo studied drama at the Cyrano Theatre and later became a member of the Daniel Sorano Company, playing many classical roles.
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Karyo joined the National Theatre of Strasbourg, where he starred in both contemporary and classical plays. He found success in French films beginning in the 1980s, first as a character actor. He later appeared in leading roles in several notable films, such as The Bear, in which he played one of the hunters, and director Luc Besson's Nikita, in which he played the heroine's spy mentor.
He has participated in many Hollywood movies, often portraying a French character, in the same fashion as Jean Reno. He has acted in prominent roles in major films set during wartime. Laudable performances include his acting as a vengeful French officer alongside Mel Gibson in The Patriot (2000), set during The American Revolutionary War, and his role as Jean de Dunois in The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc. In the DVD edition of The Patriot, Karyo overdubbed his own lines on the French-language track.
Karyo is also a musician and songwriter, known for his poetic lyrics. He released the highly acclaimed 2006 album Ce lien qui nous unit (translated in English as "the link that binds us"), and released Credo in 2013 on his 60th birthday.