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Alain Delon

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Alain Delon
Delon in 1961
Alain Fabien Maurice Marcel Delon

(1935-11-08) 8 November 1935 (age 88)
Sceaux, France
  • France
  • Switzerland
  • Actor
  • filmmaker
  • businessman
Years active1949–2019
(m. 1964; div. 1969)
ChildrenAt least 3, including Anthony and Anouchka[1] and Alain-Fabien Delon[2]
Military service
Branch/serviceFrench Navy Fusiliers
Years of service1952–1956
Battles/warsFirst Indochina War

Alain Fabien Maurice Marcel Delon (French: [alɛ̃ dəlɔ̃]; born 8 November 1935) is a French actor, singer, filmmaker, and businessman. Acknowledged as a cultural and cinematic icon of the 20th century, he emerged as one of the foremost European actors of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.[3][4][5][6][7]

A charming screen presence and legend, Alain Delon is regarded as one of the most beautiful men in the movies.[8][9][10][11][12] His roles or himself (notably thanks to his advantageous physique) have given rise to multiple cultural and popular representations.

Delon has received awards at prestigious festivals and has often been honored for his entire career. In 1985, he won the César Award for Best Actor for his performance in Notre histoire (1984). In 1991, he became a member of France's Legion of Honour. At the 45th Berlin International Film Festival, he won the Honorary Golden Bear. At the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, he received the Honorary Palme d'Or.

Delon achieved critical acclaim for roles in the films Purple Noon (1960), Rocco and His Brothers (1960), L'Eclisse (1962), The Leopard (1963), Le Samouraï (1967), La Piscine (1969), Le Cercle Rouge (1970), Un flic (1972), and Monsieur Klein (1976). Over the course of his career Delon worked with many directors, including Luchino Visconti, Jean-Luc Godard, Jean-Pierre Melville, Michelangelo Antonioni, and Louis Malle. As a singer, Delon recorded the popular duet "Paroles, paroles" (1973) with Dalida. He acquired Swiss citizenship in 1999.

Early life


Alain Fabien Maurice Marcel Delon, was born on 8 November 1935 in Sceaux, in the Seine department (now Hauts-de-Seine), a wealthy suburb of Paris in a humble house located at 99 Houdan Street. Son of François Fabien Delon (Craponne-sur-Arzon, 12 March 1904 - 1977), director of the cinema Le Régina in Bourg-la-Reine, and Édith Arnold (1911–1995), employed in a pharmacy, he was born into a petty-bourgeois family.[13] The Delons are originally from Saint-Vincent-Lespinasse, in Tarn-et-Garonne. Their known genealogy goes back to Jean Delon, born in the fifteenth century. Delon's paternal great-grandfather, Fabien Delon (Saint-Vincent-Lespinasse, 28 December 1829 - Figeac (Lot), 12 December 1909), decorated with the Legion of Honour in 1892, was a civil engineer.[14] His paternal grandmother, Marie-Antoinette Evangelista (born in 1867 in Prunelli-di-Fiumorbo),[15] was Corsican. She got married in her hometown on 3 December 1888 to Delon's paternal grandfather, Jean-Marcel Delon (Figeac, 4 November 1856 – 1926), then a tax collector in Gap, who was appointed in Corsica in 1886.

Delon's maternal grandfather, Alfred Louis Arnold (1876–1959), was born in Paris and was a rider of the French army, gendarme. His parents were Just Arnold, born in 1847 in Bürglen, Uri, a shoemaker by trade, and Marie-Adéle Lienemann, born in 1849, a cook. He married Maria Minard (1881–1913), a model for Jeanne Lanvin.[16][17][18]

In 1939, Delon was four years old when his parents divorced.[19] Both of his parents remarried, as a result he had three half siblings on his father's side and two half siblings on his mother's side. He was then entrusted to a foster family, which would remain for him a childhood wound that had never healed. The father of this family was a prison guard in Fresnes (Val-de-Marne), Delon, who lived next door, heard the salvo that executed Pierre Laval in the prison courtyard, the details of which he was told.[20]

The foster parents later died and Delon was sent back to his family and his parents took shared custody of him. Growing up, he would spend time living with his father and his second family in L'Haÿ-les-Roses and his mother and her second family in Bourg-la-Reine. His parents then placed him in the Catholic boarding school of Saint-Nicolas d'Igny (Essonne), where he spent all his youth with one of his best friends, Gérard Salomé. He was expelled six times from the schools he attended because of his unruly behavior due to lack of attention he was receiving from his parents. When Delon was 14, he was again expelled from another boarding school and his family decided that studies were not for him. His mother, who had married Paul Boulogne, a butcher and delicatessen from Bourg-la-Reine, gave him a place in the family home, however Delon stated that he never really found a place in that family and never felt safe there. Delon passed a CAP in charcuterie and worked at his stepfathers delicatessen, which had sixteen employees.[21]

At the age of 14, he had the opportunity to shoot the role of a thug in Le Rapt, a 22-second silent short film directed by Olivier Bourguignon, a friend of his father. At the same age, he tried to run away to live in Chicago with one of his friends who also had an uncle living there, but they were both arrested in Bordeaux.[22]

Anticipating the call up for military service, he did his military service in the French Navy at the age of 17. After a stint at the Pont-Réan Maritime Training Centre, he continued his military service in 1953 at the Bormette Signals School. After he was caught for a theft of equipment,[23] the French Navy gave him the choice between leaving the Navy or extending his commitment from three to five years. As a 1st class seaman, he was then assigned to the protection company of the Saigon arsenal, in what was still French Indochina. Towards the end of the Indochina war, he was arrested for stealing a jeep and went on a trip during which the vehicle fell into an arroyo. His radio licence was revoked and he was expelled from the Navy.[24] He celebrated his 20th birthday in a cell.[25] This period left a deep impression on him: he discovered military discipline, a sense of honour and the flag of France. He developed a passion for weapons and the actor was captivated by Jean Gabin in Touche pas au grisbi, a film he saw in the Indochinese capital.[26]

After his Naval service, Delon returned to France in 1956. He resented his parents for letting him go to Indochina (he was a volunteer but their permission was necessary) and did not get back in touch with them, deciding to fend for himself and having no idea what he would do for a living. His younger brother Jean-François Delon would later be the first in his family to reconnect with him in 1961 after seeing a Rocco and His Brothers poster. Delon settled in at the Regina Hotel and did a few odd jobs, notably as a longshoreman at Les Halles and a waiter in a café near the Champs-Élysées. He met the future singer Dalida, with whom he would have an affair later in life. In Pigalle and Montmartre, he rubbed shoulders with the world of the underworld, the thugs and gigolos, one of whom, a "homosexual named Carlos", will ensure his protection. He is fascinated by the values of this environment, in particular the sense of honour, friendship, respect and the law of silence. His pleasant physique and his "angelic face" capsize the girls and allow him to be housed and fed by several prostitutes, which is not to his displeasure. His future then seemed to be heading towards that of a pimp.[27][28]

Acting career


He then discovered the bustling Saint-Germain-des-Prés district and met the actress Brigitte Auber at the Club Saint-Germain, who had recently filmed for Alfred Hitchcock in To Catch a Thief. They live together on rue du Pré-aux-Clercs, in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, which distanced Alain Delon from the underworld and changed his career. On the occasion of the 1957 Cannes Film Festival, he went down with her to the Côte d'Azur and moved into the house she owned in Saint-Paul-de-Vence. It was during this festival that he became friends with Jean-Claude Brialy and came into contact with the film industry, where he met his future agent George Beaume. He was "spotted" by Henry Willson, who was in charge of recruiting new talent on behalf of David O. Selznick, who offered him a trial run in Rome. He thus approached the world of cinema, without any particular training as an actor.[29][30][31][32]

In the Eternal City, he stayed with Gian Paolo Barbieri, who would become a famous photographer.[33] In the Cinecittà studios, on the sidelines of the filming of Charles Vidor's A Farewell to Arms, he underwent conclusive trials and Selznick offered him a seven-year contract in the United States on the condition that he learn English. Back in France, he began to study this language, but the actress Michèle Cordoue, whose lover he had become, convinced her husband, the director Yves Allégret, to hire him to shoot his first film, Quand la femme s'en mêle.[34] He played a small role alongside the star Edwige Feuillère. Alain Delon recounts: "I didn't know how to do anything. Allégret looked at me like that and he said: "Listen to me, Alain. Speak as you speak to me. Look at how you look at me. Listen as you listen to me. Don't play, live." It changed everything. If Yves Allégret hadn't told me that, I wouldn't have had this career.".[35]

He then appeared in the comedy Sois belle et tais-toi by Marc Allégret (Yves' brother), where he rubbed shoulders with Mylène Demongeot, Henri Vidal, as well as another young actor, just like him as a beginner : Jean-Paul Belmondo. During the shooting, he borrowed the Renault 4CV of Pascal Jardin, the director's second assistant, against the advice of the owner of the vehicle. In the Saint-Cloud tunnel, the borrowed car rolled over five times.[36] The vehicle was destroyed and Alain Delon escaped with a scar under his chin that would become characteristic of his image.

In 1958, then a young leading man, he was chosen by the actress Romy Schneider, who had become a world celebrity following the success of the Sissi trilogy, to play her male partner in Christine by Pierre Gaspard-Huit. The producers arranged an interview with the press at Orly airport in Paris: the two young actors met for the first time when Romy got off the plane on April 10, 1958. Their first relationship is stormy : Romy doesn't speak French, Alain Delon doesn't speak German and while she finds him uninteresting and in bad taste, he finds her vomiting. Filming began two months later and the two actors did not get along at all. However, they end up falling in love and the "fiancés of Europe" celebrate their official engagement, organized by Romy's mother and stepfather in Morcote, Switzerland, on the shores of Lake Lugano, in front of the international press, without planning a date for a possible wedding. They embody beauty, youth, success and become a couple celebrated by show business and the public.[37]

After Christine, where he played his first important role, Delon had his first success in Michel Boisrond's Weak Women, where he reunited with Mylène Demongeot and also shared the bill with other young leads, Pascale Petit and Jacqueline Sassard. In Le Chemin des écoliers, based on Marcel Aymé, he plays the son of the character played by Bourvil. His model was Jean Gabin.

French stardom


Delon was given the lead in the comedy Women Are Weak (1959). This was a big hit in France[38] and was the first of Delon's films to be seen in America. Delon made some personal appearances in New York to promote the movie.

International fame

Italy, August 1959: Delon as Tom Ripley and Marie Laforêt as Marge Duval during the shooting of Purple Noon (1960)

Delon next made two films that ensured his international reputation. In 1960, he appeared in René Clément's Plein Soleil, released in the US as Purple Noon, which was based on the Patricia Highsmith novel The Talented Mr. Ripley. Delon played protagonist Tom Ripley to critical acclaim; Highsmith was a fan of his portrayal.[39] The movie was a hit in France and on the art house circuit in English-speaking countries. He then played the title role in Luchino Visconti's Rocco and His Brothers (1960). Critic Bosley Crowther of The New York Times wrote that Delon's work was "touchingly pliant and expressive".[40]

Delon in Rocco and His Brothers (1960)
Delon - Purple Noon - 1960

Delon made his stage debut in 1961 in the John Ford play 'Tis Pity She's a Whore alongside Romy Schneider in Paris. Visconti directed the production which broke box office records.[41] He was reunited with René Clément in the Italian comedy film about fascism, The Joy of Living (1961). It was a minor success. More popular was an all-star anthology film Famous Love Affairs (1961); Delon's segment cast him as Albert III, Duke of Bavaria, opposite Brigitte Bardot. Around this time Delon was mentioned as a possibility for the lead in Lawrence of Arabia.[42]

Peter O'Toole was cast instead, but then Delon was signed by Seven Arts to a four-picture deal, including a big budget international movie of the Marco Polo story and The King of Paris, about Alexandre Dumas.[43] Neither project came to fruition. Instead he was cast by Michelangelo Antonioni opposite Monica Vitti in L'Eclisse (1962),[44] a major critical success, although audiences were small. More popular was another all-star anthology film, The Devil and the Ten Commandments (1963); Delon's segment cast him with Danielle Darrieux.[45]



Producer Jacques Bar was making a heist film with Jean Gabin with backing from MGM, titled Any Number Can Win (1963). Gabin's co-star was meant to be Jean-Louis Trintignant until Delon lobbied Bar for the role. He took the film's distribution rights in certain countries instead of a straight salary. Because this had never been done before in France, this was known as "Delon's method". The gamble paid off well, with Jean Gabin later claiming that Delon earned 10 times more money than he did as a result. However, in 1965, Delon claimed "no one else has tried it since and made money".[46]

The experience gave Delon a taste for producing. He signed a five-picture deal with MGM, of which Any Number Can Win was the first. His reputation was further enhanced when he worked with Visconti again for Il Gattopardo (The Leopard) with Burt Lancaster and Claudia Cardinale. It was the seventh biggest hit of the year in France. Any Number Can Win was the sixth.[47] The Leopard was widely screened in the U.S. through 20th Century Fox. Delon was now one of the most popular stars in France. He starred in a swashbuckler, The Black Tulip (1964), another hit.[48]

Alain Delon - 1961

Les Félins (1964), which reunited him with Clement and co-starred Jane Fonda, was filmed in French and English versions. The latter was distributed by MGM, but it was not a success.[49] In 1964, the Cinémathèque Française held a showcase of Delon's films and Delon started a production company, Delbeau Production, with Georges Beaume. They produced a film called The Unvanquished (L'insoumis) in 1964, where Delon played a terrorist OAS assassin. It had to be re-edited because of legal issues. Despite being distributed by MGM, audiences were small.[50]

Hollywood star


Typecast as a "Latin Lover", Delon spent the next few years focused on Hollywood. In 1965 he said that he wanted to make a picture in America and one in Europe each year. He also said that his accent prevented him from playing certain roles: "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."[46]

He started with a small part in an all-star anthology for MGM titled The Yellow Rolls-Royce (1965), opposite Shirley MacLaine. It was popular although Delon had little to do. He had his first English-language lead in Once a Thief, where he co-starred with Ann-Margret. It was based on a novel by Zekial Marko who had written Any

Alain Delon - 1963

Number Can Win, but it was not as successful. It was financed by MGM, which announced Delon would appear in a Western Ready for the Tiger directed by Sam Peckinpah, but the film was never made.[51]

Instead, Delon signed a three-picture deal with Columbia, for whom he appeared in the big budget action film Lost Command (1966), playing a member of the French Foreign Legion, alongside Anthony Quinn and Claudia Cardinale. The studio announced that he would appear in the biopic Cervantes, but this was never made.[52] Universal Studios used Delon in a Western, Texas Across the River, opposite Dean Martin. Ray Stark wanted to use him in The Night of the Iguana and This Property Is Condemned.[53][54]

He didn't appear in either film but was in that producer's Is Paris Burning?, directed by René Clément, playing Jacques Chaban-Delmas. This was a massive hit in France but performed disappointingly at the US box office – as did all of Delon's Hollywood-financed films.[55] Delon remained a massive star in France, along with Steve McQueen and Sean Connery, and was one of the biggest foreign stars in Japan.[56] However, he could not make headway in the U.S market.[55]

Return to France


After six Hollywood movies Delon returned to France to make The Last Adventure opposite Lino Ventura. It was one of Delon's most popular films of the 1960s but wasn't popular in North America. He was meant to work again with Visconti in The Stranger but did not end up playing it.[57] Instead, he appeared on stage in Paris, Les Yeux Crevés and made Le Samouraï with Jean-Pierre Melville, which became another classic.[58] He played an amnesiac in Diabolically Yours (1968) for Julien Duvivier.[59]

He had a role in another all-star anthology, Spirits of the Dead (1968). His segment was directed by Louis Malle, and co-starred Brigitte Bardot. Delon had another attempt at English-language cinema with The Girl on a Motorcycle (1968) with Marianne Faithfull for director Jack Cardiff. It was a surprise hit in Britain.[59] Far more popular at the French box office was Farewell Friend (Adieu l'ami), where Delon and Charles Bronson played former foreign legionnaires who get involved in a heist. The film helped turn Charles Bronson into a genuine star in Europe.[60][61]

La Piscine with Romy Schneider

The film La piscine reunited a 60's 'couple mythique' Alain Delon and Romy Schneider.[62] That’s one of the reasons for its incredible success.[63] Schneider had dramatically broken-up with Delon a couple years earlier and married German director and actor Harry Meyen in Berlin.[63] She had a child. Delon asked the filmmaker to book her for this role. He continuously pursued her, both before and after filming "La Piscine", with persistent attempts to reconcile.[64] Despite Romy Schneider's refusals, their shared history and emotional connection spilled onto the screen, infusing the film with raw authenticity.[63][64]

Marković affair and gangster movies


While making the 1969 thriller La Piscine (The Swimming Pool)[65] with Romy Schneider, Delon's friend and bodyguard Stevan Marković was found murdered in a rubbish dump near Paris. The police investigation revealed claims of sex parties involving celebrities such as Delon and members of the French government, including future president Georges Pompidou, whose wife, Claude Pompidou, was allegedly the subject of a series of compromising photos at one such party. Corsican crime boss François Marcantoni, a friend of Delon, was suspected of involvement in the murder. The affair gained notoriety throughout France and in the French press as the "Marković affair". In a 1969 BBC interview, Delon was questioned about his alleged involvement in the death of Marković, rumors of his involvement in the sex parties, and Delon's own sexual preferences.

Reporter: People, once more, don't say it straight to your face but they suggest very very strongly that you have homosexual tastes? Delon: So what's wrong if I had? Or I did? Would I be guilty of something? If I like it I'll do it. We have a great actor in France named Michel Simon, and Michel Simon said once, "If you like your goat, make love with your goat." But the only matter is to love.[66]

Delon then starred in a series of gangster films. The first was Jeff (1969), made by his own production company, Adel. In The Sicilian Clan (1969) Delon collaborated with Lino Ventura and Jean Gabin, and the film was a blockbuster. Even more popular in Europe was Borsalino (1970), which Delon produced and in which he co-starred opposite Jean-Paul Belmondo. Neither of these films was successful in the US, as Delon had hoped.[67] Neither was The Red Circle, despite Delon co-starring in it with Yves Montand. For a change of pace, he produced a romantic drama, The Love Mates (1971), which was not successful. Neither was the 1971 comedy Easy, Down There!.[68]

More international films

Delon giving out autographs, 1971
Delon signing autographs, 1971

In the early 1970s, Delon made another attempt at the English-speaking market. The Assassination of Trotsky (1972) for Joseph Losey was poorly received but Red Sun (1972), with Charles Bronson and Toshiro Mifune, did well. In France he appeared opposite Simone Signoret in The Widow Couderc (1971). He made his third film with Melville, Un flic (1972). He produced and starred in a romantic drama, Indian Summer (1972), then made some thrillers: Traitement de choc (1973), and Tony Arzenta (1973).

In 1973, he recorded a duet with Dalida, "Paroles, paroles", that went on to become one of the most recognizable French songs. He tried again for Hollywood stardom with Scorpio (1973), with Burt Lancaster for director Michael Winner. It was only a minor hit. In France, he made The Burned Barns (1973) and Creezy (1974). He produced Two Men in Town (1974) which re-teamed him with Jean Gabin, and Borsalino & Co. (1974), a sequel to his earlier hit.

After another gangster thriller, Icy Breasts (1974), Delon returned to his first swashbuckler since The Black Tulip, playing the title character in the 1975 Italian-French film Zorro. He made some more crime filmes: The Gypsy (1975), Flic Story (1975) (with Jean Louis Triginant), Boomerang (1976) and Armaguedon (1976). In 1976, Delon starred in Monsieur Klein, for which he was nominated for the César Award.[69]

Delon - 1972

It was back to crime for another series of thrillers in which he starred as well as produced: Man in a Hurry (1977),[70] Death of a Corrupt Man (1977),[71] Le Gang (1977),[72] Attention, The Kids Are Watching (1978).[73] In 1979, Delon stated only a quarter of his business activities involve films, that he also has "a helicopter business, build furniture, promote prize fights, and race horses", and that he was still interested in becoming a star in America.[74]

In 1979 he made a final attempt at Hollywood stardom, signing with agent Sue Mengers and starring in The Concorde ... Airport '79 (1979).[75] The film was not a big success. Delon returned to French films which he produced: The Medic (1979) and Three Men to Kill (1980).

Later career


1980s and 1990s


Teheran 43 (1981) was a change of pace. In this big Soviet production he co-starred with Claude Jade and Curd Jürgens in a co-starring role beside Russian actors. Then it was back to crime: For a Cop's Hide (1981), Le choc (1982, opposite Catherine Deneuve), Le Battant (1983). He was awarded the Best Actor César Award for his role in Bertrand Blier's Notre histoire (1984), and portrayed the aristocratic dandy Baron de Charlus in a film adaptation of Marcel Proust's novel Swann in Love in the same year.

The thrillers resumed: Parole de flic (1986), The Passage, Let Sleeping Cops Lie (1988), and Dancing Machine (1990). One notable film during this time was Jean-Luc Godard's Nouvelle Vague in 1990, in which Delon played twins. Delon's last major role was in Patrice Leconte's Une chance sur deux in 1998, another box office disappointment. Delon announced his decision to give up acting in 1997, although he still occasionally accepts roles.

Delon acquired Swiss citizenship on 23 September 1999,[76] and the company managing products sold under his name is based in Geneva. He resides in Chêne-Bougeries in the canton of Geneva.

2000s and 2010s


In 2001, Delon starred in the French television drama Fabio Montale. He played an ageing policeman dressed in stylish clothes, a "signature Delon" role for audiences. The show was a big hit. In 2003, Delon tried to recreate the success of Fabio Montale and produced and starred in another French television police drama, Frank Riva. It did well but less so than Fabio Montale.

Alain Delon - Cannes - 2007
Delon with his daughter Anouchka at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival

He starred, in 2008, as Jules Cesar in the box-office hit Asterix aux jeux Olympiques which co-starred Gérard Depardieu. Around this time he mostly took roles in TV movies and also played some roles on the French stage.[77]

He directed a TV movie in 2008, co-starring Anouk Aimee, titled Love Letters based on a play by A.R. Gurney. In 2018, after a seven-year hiatus from cinema, Delon was planning to star in a new movie, titled La Maison Vide, co-starring Juliette Binoche and directed by Patrice Leconte. However, in November 2018 the French media announced that the project was canceled. No specific reason was given for the cancelation.[77] His last roles to date have been in the 2011 television movie Une journée ordinaire, in the 2012 Russian production S Novym godom, Mamy! in which he starred as himself and he again appeared as himself in the 2019 movie Toute Ressemblance as a guest in a talkshow.[78]

Alain Delon at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival

In April 2019, at 83, Delon released a new single. The track, titled Je n'aime que toi, was composed by Rick Allison and Julia Paris. Already in 1973 Delon scored a huge international hit duetting with Egyptian-French singer Dalida on the song Paroles...paroles. In 1983 he collaborated with Shirley Bassey on the international hit song Thought I'd ring you.[79][80]

At the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, which was held from 14 to 25 May, Delon was the recipient of an honorary Palme d'Or for his long standing career in the movies. A retrospective of some of his films played at the festival. There was much controversy surrounding Delon receiving this award because of the presumed remarks he had made concerning the treatment of women during his career and in his private life. Thierry Fremaux, the artistic director of the festival, told the Cannes audience during a homage at the ceremony, "We know that intolerance is back, we're being asked to believe that if we all think the same it will protect us from the risk of being disliked or being wrong, but Alain Delon is not afraid of being wrong, being disliked, and he doesn't think like others, and he's not afraid of being alone." "For me, it's more than the end of a career. It's the end of a life. It feels that I'm receiving a posthumous tribute while being alive", said Delon. He received the award from his daughter Anouchka Delon.[81][82][83][84][85][86]



In a July 2021 interview on TV5Monde, his first since having two strokes, Delon said that he plans to act in one more film.[87][88] Also on TV5Monde, Delon interviewed Ukrainian president Zelenskyy in September 2022 as part of a special programme on the situation in Ukraine, Face à Zelensky. Delon expressed his support for the Ukrainian people during the interview.[89][90]

Business career


In the 1970s, Delon expanded his commercial interests, buying harness racing trotters and promoting boxing matches.[91] He has also helped develop and promote a variety of products sold under his name including wristwatches, clothing, eyewear, perfume, stationery, and cigarettes.[92][93] Delon's brand of sunglasses became particularly popular in Hong Kong after actor Chow Yun-fat wore them in the 1986 crime film A Better Tomorrow, as well as two sequels. Delon reportedly wrote a letter thanking Chow for helping to promote and sell the sunglasses in Hong Kong and China.[94]

The film's director John Woo has acknowledged Delon as one of his idols and wrote a short essay on Le Samourai as well as Le Cercle Rouge for the Criterion Collection DVD releases.[95] In 2009 and 2015, Christian Dior used images of the young Alain Delon and excerpts of his 1960s films The Swimming Pool and The Last Adventure respectively in the Eau Sauvage cologne advertising campaigns.[96]

Personal life

Alain Delon filming the aborted Marco Polo 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).[97] After their first film together, the couple of Alain Delon and Romy Schneider became iconic.[98] Schneider, already a highly acclaimed star, and Delon, a rising talent, were affectionately nicknamed "les amants magnifiques" (the magnificent lovers), "Les fiancés éternels" (eternal fiancés), and "les amants terribles" (the terrible lovers) due to their passionate and tumultuous relationship,[98] which was the subject of intense media scrutiny, with paparazzi relentlessly pursuing them.[99] Romy's family remained opposed to their union, adding further complexities to their romance.[99][100] In 1964, Delon and Schneider broke up.[101] Their love story continued to captivate audiences and cementing their status as one of the most beautiful couples in cinema history.[102] In 2018, Delon confessed that Romy Schneider is the love of his life.[103] In 2009, he admitted his regret for not marrying her.[104]

In 1961, he had an affair with German actress, singer and model Nico. And in 1962, Nico gave birth to a son, Christian Aaron Boulogne (Ari Päffgen) "Ari", but Delon never recognized the child as his. Ari was raised mostly by Delon's parents.[105] In 2001 and 2019, Boulogne attempted to sue Delon for legal recognition of paternity but without success.[106][107][108]

In 1963, Delon met young divorcée Francine Canovas,[109] a model known professionally as Nathalie Barthélémy.[109][110] He was also involved in an affair with Marisa Mell both before and after publicly announcing his engagement to Nathalie Barthélemy during a press conference.[111] This liaison continued even after his marriage in 1964 and persisted into 1965. On 13 August 1964, he married Nathalie Barthélemy due to her pregnancy, which became publicly known and thereafter she took the name Nathalie Delon.[98] Their son Anthony Delon, her second child, was born on 30 September 1964. Nathalie later revealed that Delon's love for Romy Schneider remained a constant presence in their relationship, with Alain often displaying a deep sadness indicative that his heart still belonged to Romy.[112] In 1964-1965, Delon's relationships also included Ann-Margret and Lana Wood.[113][114] In 1967, Alain Delon filed for divorce.[115] The couple divorced on 14 February 1969.[116]

In the mid-1960s, Delon had a short relationship with Dalida. The two had been friends since first meeting in Paris in 1955, where they were neighbors in the same building on the Champs-Élysées.[117]

In August 1968, during the shooting of the film La Piscine, Delon met French actress Mireille Darc and asked her to shoot a movie together. They started a relationship that lasted until 1982.[118] He later had short relationships with actresses Anne Parillaud and Lana Wood,[119] as well as Catherine Bleynie, ex-wife of Didier Pironi.[120]

Delon was in a short relationship with Guadeloupe-born dancer and actress Maddly Bamy. He met Bamy on the set of La Piscine, in which Bamy had a small role. As Delon was also Mireille Darc's partner at the time, he shared his life with two women. Bamy ended their relationship in 1971, and subsequently became Jacques Brel's last companion. Their love triangle served as an inspiration to the 1969 film The Love Mates, in which Delon and Darc starred. Darc wrote the film's screenplay under her real name, Mireille Aigroz.[121][122][123]

In 1987, Delon met Dutch model Rosalie van Breemen [nl] on the set of the music video for his song "Comme au cinéma" and started a relationship. They had two children: Anouchka Delon (25 November 1990) and Alain-Fabien Delon (18 March 1994). The relationship ended in 2001.

Delon lives in Chêne-Bougeries, Canton of Geneva, Switzerland, and Douchy, Loiret, France.

Political opinions


During an interview in 2013, Delon expressed 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."[124] Delon was good friends with Argentine world champion boxer Carlos Monzon, even visiting Monzon during his stint in prison.[125][126] In 2022, the 86-year-old Delon was invited by Volodymyr Zelensky to travel to Ukraine.[127][128]

Hiromi Rollin Case


On July 5, 2023, his three children filed a complaint against the woman presented as the actor's companion, alleging psychological harassment, interception of correspondence, animal cruelty, voluntary violence, unlawful confinement, and abuse of weakness.[129][130] According to Anthony Delon, his father requested in writing that Mrs. Rollin leave the residence in Douchy-Montcorbon. A preliminary investigation was opened on July 6. On July 7, Yassine Bouzrou, lawyer for Hiromi Rollin, stated that she disputes "the entirety of the facts".[131][132] Furthermore, the lawyer added that she would file a complaint against members of the Delon family and bodyguards for aggravated voluntary violence suffered on July 5, 2023.[133][134] Meanwhile, Hiromi Rollin wrote a letter to the prosecutor of Montargis in which she denies being Alain Delon's companion, claiming to have had an intimate relationship with him for over twenty years, although she stated in another interview, "a love relationship of 33 years". The prosecutor of Montargis dismissed the two complaints filed by the three Delon children against the woman in her sixties due to insufficiently characterized offenses. Hiromi Rollin's complaint, filed in response against the Delon children, was also dismissed for the same reasons. However, Hiromi Rollin's lawyer announced that his client planned to file a complaint with a civil party in order to restart the investigations. Anthony Delon, on his part, intends to become a civil party against Hiromi Rollin so that "the truth is revealed".

Alain Delon Case


On January 4, 2024, Alain Delon filed a complaint against his son Anthony following an interview granted by the latter to Paris Match magazine.[135][136] Anthony Delon discusses his father's fragile health and accuses his half-sister Anouchka of manipulating their father regarding the inheritance.[137] In this interview, the eldest reveals that his father is "weakened" and that he "can't bear to see himself like this, diminished" anymore. Subsequently, Anthony Delon filed a police report against Anouchka, accusing her of not informing the family about the negative results of five cognitive tests conducted by their father between 2019 and 2022, after he suffered a severe stroke in 2019.[138] Anouchka Delon, on the other hand, accuses her brothers of endangering the patriarch's life and claims to have wanted to take their father to Switzerland so he could continue to be treated there. She then announces plans to sue for defamation, false accusations, threats, and harassment against Anthony Delon.[139] Furthermore, Alain Delon's lawyer asserts that his client "cannot bear the aggressiveness of his son Anthony, who keeps telling him that he is senile". On March 29, 2024, Anouchka Delon sues her brothers for invasion of privacy after the broadcast of a recording in January 2024 on Instagram of a conversation between her and her father.[140] Anthony and Alain-Fabien will thus be judged for "use, retention, or disclosure of a document or recording obtained by an invasion of another's privacy". The trial date is set for April 2025. Physically weakened by cancer, Delon is placed under reinforced guardianship by judicial decision in April 2024, following a hearing at the Montargis court, in the presence of the actor's three children.[141] This measure follows a period during which Delon had already been placed under guardianship since January 25, and notably grants the appointed curator by the judge the power to manage his expenses.[142]

Marković affair


On 1 October 1968, in the village of Élancourt, Yvelines, on the western outskirts of Paris, the body of Stevan Marković, Delon's former bodyguard, was found in a public dump.[143][144] Delon and a Corsican gangster François Marcantoni came under investigation. One of the factors pointing in that direction was a letter from Marković to his brother Aleksandar, in which he wrote: "If I get killed, it's 100% the fault of Alain Delon and his godfather Francois Marcantoni." Later, the investigation involved the former French Prime Minister (and later President) Georges Pompidou after a few press articles and a testimony of Borivoj Ackov.[145] He testified that he was present at parties with Pompidou's wife, Marković, and Delon.

Marković's death sparked rumours suggesting the existence of group sex photos with Pompidou's wife. Pompidou accused Louis Wallon and Henri Capitant of using the French espionage service SDECE with an aim to set him up. After becoming President of the Republic, he named Alexandre de Marenches as the head of the SDECE in order to reform it. Assisted by Michel Roussin, his principal private secretary, de Marenches expelled a "secret agent" involved in the investigation of Jean-Charles Marchiani.


In 1969, Delon was convicted in absentia and sentenced to four months in jail by an Italian court for assaulting an Italian photographer.[146]

On 26 February 2024, police raided Delon's home where they seized 72 firearms and 3,000 rounds of ammunition. A court-appointed official had been sent to the home of Delon, who is not authorised to own a firearm, and alerted a judge after noticing a weapon.[147][148]

De Gaulle document


In 1970, Delon, through a friend, Mr Stan, purchased a copy of the original manuscript of Charles de Gaulle's 1940 speech to the French encouraging them to resist the Germans. Delon paid 300,000 francs for the manuscript and then returned it to the government.[149][150]


Alain Delon - 10 December 2010

Delon suffered a stroke in June 2019. He was admitted to hospital after experiencing dizziness and headaches. In August 2019, he was recovering in a Swiss hospital.[151] In September 2022, he began experimental treatment for a slow-progressing lymphoma. In the summer of 2023, Delon's three children made the decision to stop this treatment because it was weakening him.[152]

In a 2021 interview with Paris Match, Delon expressed support for euthanasia, calling it "the most logical and natural thing".[153] In 2022, Delon's son Anthony revealed in his autobiography Entre chien et loup that, following the death of his mother Nathalie, Alain said he wanted to be removed from life support if he were to succumb to a coma, and had asked Anthony to fulfill his request if such a circumstance arose.[154][155] Shortly thereafter, some news organizations reported that Delon was planning to imminently end his life through euthanasia, but the reports were adamantly denied by his son, Alain-Fabien, who said that quotes from Anthony Delon's book had been taken out of context.[156][157]

In January 2024, Delon was reported to be in poor health and living a reclusive lifestyle at his La Brûlerie estate in Douchy. At the same time, a public feud concerning Delon's health arose between three of his children–Anthony, Anouchka and Alain-Fabien–all of whom acknowledge Delon is "ailing but lucid and aware of the feud". The rift began when Anthony publicly accused Anouchka, his half-sister, of "lying" and "manipulation" for concealing the results of cognitive tests Swiss doctors had performed on their father. The children, however, had united in mid-2023 to successfully evict Delon's former companion Hiromi Rollin, whom they accused of abusing their father.[158][159][160]



Delon's favourite actor is John Garfield. He also admires Montgomery Clift, Marlon Brando and Robert Walker.[161]

Influence on his contemporaries


Recognition by one's peers


Many filmmakers like Ramin Bahrani,[162] Daniel Brühl,[163][164][165] Jackie Chan,[166] Sofia Coppola,[167] William Friedkin,[168] Jack Huston,[169] Kazuo Ishiguro,[170][171] Meiko Kaji,[172] Eva Longoria,[173] Kyle MacLachlan,[174] Charles Melton,[175] Nicolas Winding Refn,[176] Mickey Rourke,[177] Mark Strong,[178] Quentin Tarantino,[179] Johnnie To, Bruce Willis,[180] John Woo,[181] Harvey Weinstein,[182][183] Edgar Wright,[184][185] expressed respect or admiration for Alain Delon's career and longevity.

Leonardo DiCaprio regards Alain Delon as one of the "coolest actors in the history of cinema".[186] The Canadian actor Keanu Reeves asserts that Delon is his role model as an actor: "He's such a charismatic actor. I think he has something in him between tension and melancholy."[187] British director Matthew Vaughn compares actor Michael Caine to Alain Delon, suggesting the unique cinematic influence of these two actors in their respective countries.[188] British actor Clive Owen says he is fascinated by Alain Delon's "natural grace", considering Le Samouraï and La Piscine among his favorite films.[189]

Also, LaCinetek[190] unveils several lists where various professionals in the field recommend and/or specify their favourite films. Several of the productions in which Delon plays the leading role are cited. For example, Nadav Lapid, Lynne Ramsay, Jerry Schatzberg recommend The Samurai while Plein Soleil seduced Akira Kurosawa (the latter also cites Any Number Can Win)[191] and Bertrand Blier.[192][193][191] Rocco and his brothers were members of the lists drawn up by Martin Scorsese, Michel Hazanavicius, Cristian Mungiu, and Aki Kaurismäki among others. Chan-wook Park and Bertrand Bonello choose Un Flic.[194] Christoph Hochhäusler, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Park Chan-wook prefer Mr. Klein.[195] Finally, The Eclipse has won over Raymond Depardon, François Ozon and James Franco.[196][197]

Joseph Losey, an American director, expressed his admiration for Alain Delon, saying, "Alain is one of those rare talents who can be honored as being difficult. To me, this word means professionalism, demand, dedication to work, warmth, and love. He's not a man to play with, but a man you can rely on."[198] American producer Robert Evans pays a vibrant tribute to Delon in his memoirs The Kid Stays in the PictureHyperion Books, 1994, considering him as his "brother in life as in cinema" and "the most beautiful actor in Europe".

The Samouraï


Additionally, Alain Delon's roles and performances have influenced numerous colleagues, both in France and internationally. In addition, Alain Delon is one of the most famous French actors abroad, alongside Gérard Depardieu, Jean Reno, Catherine Deneuve and Audrey Tautou.[199][200][201]

  • The German film Liebe ist kälter als der Tod pays homage to French cinema masters like Claude Chabrol and Éric Rohmer. Furthermore, the directorial style of Ulli Lommel, as well as the artwork of the poster, draws inspiration from Alain Delon's magnetic presence in Le Samouraï.[202]
  • With its crosshatched plot stitching and diverse array of stock figures, Kill! pays homage to The samurai film lore while incorporating off-beat spaghetti western touches. Japanese actor Tatsuya Nakadai captures Delon's versatility, with a wide range of emotions and personas throughout the film. Just as Delon effortlessly navigated between different roles and genres, Nakadai embodies the essence of the conflicted anti-hero.[203]
  • Martin Scorsese was permanently influenced by Meville's Samurai. Paul Schrader, screenwriter of Taxi Driver, was himself inspired by the French film to draw from it the atmosphere and the dimension of modern alienation. Scorsese, steeped in the tradition of cinema noir, drew on this aesthetic to create Jeff Costello (Delon) Travis Bickle, the disenchanted taxi driver in Taxi Driver played by Robert De Niro.[204][205][206] In Kill! Delon's influence is present in the film's multifaceted approach to storytelling and character dynamics.
  • Borsalino, a film released in 1969, tells the adventures of Roch Siffredi and François Cappella, two gangsters in Marseille in the 30s. Played by Alain Delon and Jean-Paul Belmondo, Borsalino marks their only collaboration. This tandem, made up of two of the most popular French actors, inspired Robert Redford and Paul Newman to stage The Sting in 1973.[207][208]
  • Alain Delon, through his interpretation of Jeff Costello, develops an archetype of the "silent and stoic antihero". In The Driver, this model is taken up and adapted to the American context, with Ryan O'Neal playing the role of the anonymous and detached driver, an expert in car escapes. The Driver is also considered an unofficial adaptation of Melville's Samurai.[209][210] Like Delon, O'Neal plays a character who speaks little, but whose actions and choices reveal an internal depth and complexity.[211][212][213][214]
  • In Rocco and His Brothers, Delon plays the character of Rocco Parondi, a tormented young man, a street wrestler who has become famous and has a tumultuous career in an Italian family in the 40s. The film influenced a number of filmmakers, including Scorsese, who closely studied Visconti's directing, especially the way the fight scenes are filmed, a technique he later integrated into his Raging Bull. In addition, Scorsese was inspired for this same film by the character of Rocco (Delon) to help shape Robert De Niro's interpretation of Jake LaMotta.[215][216][217]
  • Chow Yun-Fat, in John Woo's film The Killer, not only takes on the role of Alain Delon in Le Samouraï but also portrays a character who dreams he is Alain Delon.[218]
  • Tony Leung, in his role as the undercover inspector in Hard Boiled, uses similar traits to those of Delon in The Samurai.[219] The character mentioned is named after Alain Delon : his name is Alan. Alan is a cold and contemplative police officer, caught between his conflicting loyalties and condemned to a life of solitude. Like Costello (Alain Delon in The Samurai), he finds refuge in an isolated existence, living on his boat, far from the tumult of the criminal life to which he is inextricably linked.[220][221]
  • The idea for the costumes for Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction came from a discussion between Tarantino and costume designer Betsy Heimann about French film noir with Alain Delon. She says, "We went to a Denny's and talked about the film visually, and then we went to his house and he showed me a lot of French film noir, a lot of Alain Delon. I said, 'Well, all these guys are in suits.' And we're talking about guys who just got out of jail and want to remain anonymous. What can they do? They could go to a thrift store, buy a black suit, a white shirt, and a tie, and they could afford it. Quentin really liked the idea."[222]
  • In the film Heat, directed by Michael Mann, the character of Neil McCauley, played by Robert De Niro, embodies a quiet and reserved anti-hero, inspired by the minimalist and detached style associated with Delon. McCauley's character, with his rigorous discipline and unflappable attitude, is reminiscent of Jef Costello in The Samurai. Like Delon, De Niro navigates between different emotional states, while maintaining a feline and mineral presence on screen. In his production, Mann was inspired by Jean Pierre Melville (The Samurai, The Red Circle) and deals with the theme of loneliness and isolation in male characters.[223][224][225][226]
  • Forest Whitaker will also be inspired by the role of Jef Costello (played by Alain Delon in The Samurai) for Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai by Jim Jarmusch.[227] Like Alain Delon's killer in The Samurai (the film's most obvious influence), the man named Ghost Dog (Forest Whitaker) works alone, adhering to a strict personal code.[228] The ending also openly gives a nod to the samurai, in which Alain Delon, like Ghost Dog, carries an unloaded gun in a circumstance that he knows will prove fatal.[229]
  • To prepare for the role of Vincent in Collateral, Tom Cruise "first watched a few movies about professional killers, including Jean-Pierre Melville's The Samurai'starring Alain Delon. I was very fascinated by his solitary and melancholic charisma in carrying out his cruel affairs.". Cruise's appearance and character in the American film are also reminiscent of Jef Costello's character in The Samurai.[230][231][232]
  • In The Samurai, Delon plays Jef Costello, a methodical and solitary hitman, whose life is governed by a strict code and a relentless routine.[233] In The Limits of Control, Jim Jarmusch pays homage to this iconography by creating the character of the Lone Man, played by Isaach De Bankolé.[234] In many ways, the Lone Man is a modern reincarnation of Jef Costello. He is also a man of few words, carrying out his missions with clinical precision, while maintaining an emotional detachment. The Lone Man, like Costello, is often shown in impeccable costume, traversing urban and rural landscapes with an eerie serenity.[235] Jarmusch, creating an atmosphere of suspense and contemplation, is more generally inspired by the work of Melville.[236][237]
  • In Wong Kar-wai's film In the Mood for Love, the male protagonist, Mr. Chow, suggests a combination of Alain Delon, Bryan Ferry and Edward R. Murrow through their "gentle and discreet manners."[238]
  • In the comedy You Shoot, I Shoot by Pang Ho-Cheung, Eric Kot portrays a hitman who idolizes Jef Costello, dressing like the character and speaking to Costello through a poster of the French film in his apartment.[239]
  • Kim Jee-Woon, director of A Bittersweet Life, asked lead actor Lee Byung Hun to take inspiration from Delon's performances in Jean-Pierre Melville's films: "I told him to play like Alain Delon. There was a lot of talk about Alain Delon during filming, because the character he plays in Jean-Pierre Melville's films is of course very intelligent and impressively composed, but there is also something delicate about him, an unsettling vulnerability. I've always been convinced that Alain Delon played these roles wonderfully, so I talked a lot about him to my lead actor.".[240]
  • In Anton Corbijn's The American, George Clooney portrays a solitary, calm, and meticulous hitman, devoid of emotion and reminiscent of the role played by Delon in 1967.[241][242][243]
  • In the development of The Equalizer film franchise, director Antoine Fuqua claims that Delon influenced the development of the main character of Robert McCall, a lonely man with strong moral motivations, acting as a vigilante for those who cannot stand up for themselves, played by Denzel Washington: "My biggest inspirations were the foreign films of the '70s, really [...] And of course, all of Alain Delon's films, French films in particular, like The Samurai (1967), with that kind of slow pace and character development as it unfolds. These are the kinds of films that inspire me."[244][245]
  • South Korean actor Jung Woo Sung also drew inspiration from Alain Delon's performance in Le Samouraï for his first role as a criminal in Cold Eyes.[246]
  • The Kazakh film Yellow Cat, directed by Adilkhan Erjanov, reflects a multitude of cinematic influences, including the classicism of Melville's films.[247] Yellow Cat also features a solitary character, wandering through the Kazakh plains and sporting Alain Delon's trench coat and fedora from Le Samouraï.[248] The character considers himself a talent: that of imitating Alain Delon, imagining himself to be the French actor.
  • Michael Fassbender drew inspiration from Alain Delon's character in Le Samouraï for his role in David Fincher's film The Killer.[249]
  • Keanu Reeves, in John Wick: Chapter 4, portrays a formidable hitman but with a certain emotional depth, imitating Alain Delon, whom Reeves idolizes. Chad Stahelski, the director of the franchise, drew inspiration from Delon's interpretations in Melville's films: "The 'John Wick' films are all love letters from Keanu, myself, our stunt team, and our creative team to everyone, from Wong Kar-wai to Sammo Hung, to Sergio Leone, Kurosawa, Alain Delon and 'Le Samouraï', Spielberg, Tarantino... To all those people we loved growing up."[250][251]

Purple Noon




Forest Whitaker, who studied several Delon films at the university, takes on the role of Gino Strabliggi (played by Alain Delon in 1973 Two Men in Town) in Two Men in Town.[254][255] In The Skin I Live in Pedro Almodóvar asks Antonio Banderas to draw inspiration from Alain Delon's performance in Le Cercle rouge to become "icy, calculating, restrained, and economical".[256]

Rocco Siffredi chose his stage name in reference to the characters Roch Siffredi (Borsalino and Borsalino & Co) and Rocco Parondi (Rocco and his brothers), both played by Alain Delon.[257] Hong Kong actor Ti Lung chose his stage name from a verbal derivation close to the name of his favorite actor Alain Delon.[258][259]

Ilaria Urbinati, renowned stylist with Ryan Reynolds, Rami Malek and Dwayne Johnson among others, cites Alain Delon among his style icons who inspire him: "For men, I am inspired by great icons like Paul Newman, James Dean, Alain Delon, Steve McQueen, Brando – all classics whose outfits are still cool today".[260][261][262]

International recognition


Alain Delon was offered roles in several iconic productions, thus illustrating the international recognition bestowed upon him. For instance, he was invited by Sam Spiegel (the film's producer) to portray Sherif Ali in Lawrence of Arabia.[263][264] Despite a successful audition, difficulties related to wearing brown contact lenses for the role led the French actor to decline the offer.[265] Robert Evans also considered Alain Delon for the role of Michael Corleone in The Godfather, stating, "That's how he was described in the book."[266][267] Delon, however, refused the proposal.[268] In 1973, director and screenwriter Alejandro Jodorowsky embarked on the cinematic adaptation of Dune.[269] Jodorowsky assembled a prestigious artistic team, including rock bands Pink Floyd and Magma for the music. Jodorowsky also envisioned an ambitious cast: Salvador Dalí, Orson Welles, and Mick Jagger among others. Alain Delon was slated to portray the character of Duncan Idaho. However, anticipating a 14-hour film, the project was abandoned due to significant financial constraints (Dalí notably demanding $100,000 per hour).[270] Alain Delon was among Anne Rice's top choices for the role of Louis, as depicted in her book Interview with the Vampire, which was under discussion for a film adaptation.[271][272] However, the project didn't come to fruition until 1994, with Brad Pitt ultimately taking on the role.

According to the American Film Institute,[273] Delon was considered for roles in Joshua Logan's Fanny (1961), Tony Richardson's The Loved One (1965), Sydney Pollack's This Property Is Condemned (1966), Henri Verneuil's The Scavengers (1968), Taxi Driver[274] (1976) by Martin Scorsese, and John Huston's Victory (1981).[275]

Among the projects turned down by Alain Delon are Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Bernardo Bertolucci's Last Tango in Paris.[276] Additionally, in 1979, Albert Broccoli, in charge of the James Bond franchise, offered Delon the role of James Bond.[277] Delon refused to succeed Sean Connery and thus declined the offer. Initially considered for the role of Louis XV in the American film Marie-Antoinette, Alain Delon declined Sofia Coppola's offer, arguing his refusal to wear a wig to play the role.[278][279]

Celebrity and world-renowned


The Film Forum in New York pays tribute to Alain Delon through a series of ten films titled "Delon."[280][281][282] Under the direction of Bruce Goldstein, the director of programming at Film Forum, the screenings of Alain Delon's films have achieved notable success, attracting 1500 spectators: "The New York Times, The New Yorker, and major media outlets have covered the event, but Delon has always sparked, and continues to spark, great curiosity. Look at the crowd coming to see his films, it's truly incredible, his charm even captivates here, thousands of kilometers away from France !". By extending the festival in response to public demand, Alain Delon embodies, according to Tina Rozier, a cinema professor at the University of Michigan, French elegance and timeless sex appeal : "Americans also fantasize about the actor's raw talent, but also about the fact that he represents the Frenchman, classy, sexy, and a bit of French life, with a cigarette in hand, and scenes on the French Riviera or in the streets of Paris, always well-dressed. Delon, he doesn't leave anyone indifferent, regardless of age and gender, that's for sure!".[283] In May 2024, the Texas Theatre in Dallas screens two films by Alain Delon (The Samurai and The Swimming Pool).[284] At the same time in California, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF), through its Riviera Theatre, screened the neo-noir classic Le Samouraï in the perspective of a micro-festival of films by Alain Delon.[285] This retrospective will give rise to the screening of 6 of the actor's classics.[286]

"In the Eyes of Alain Delon" is the original initiative of a French photographer, Baptiste Vignol.[287] "To photograph a person every day in a playful and light-hearted way wearing Alain Delon's sunglasses." According to the website materialiste.com: "In Thailand, Brazil, Argentina, Cambodia, Australia, Kenya, Paris... not to mention all the destinations of these glasses... to the photographer's great surprise, everyone knew our French actor, a true French male symbol (although now Swiss) thanks to his films, but especially by lending his image to Dior for the Eau Sauvage perfume. He remains an unrivaled star in Japan as his perfume remains in the top five sales."

In Japan, where he is idolized, he is nicknamed the "Samurai of Spring".[288] This fame has led to the humorous novel Alain Delon is a Star in Japan by Benjamin Berton, published in 2009 by Hachette Littératures.[289] During the initial decades following the postwar era, the notion of "foreign cool" that swept through South Korea emanated not only from the United States but also from other sources. Alain Delon achieved celebrity status in Korea. His movies were widely popular in major urban centers, and tales of his personal life often made headlines in magazines. Plein Soleil was particularly successful in Korea, and the phrase "handsome like Alain Delon" became a cultural phenomenon long before messenger apps became trendy.[290]

In China, according to a street interview by Canal+'s Petit Journal, Delon is one of the few known French artists. This recognition in China is mainly due to the fact that one of the first European films to be screened in Chinese theaters was Zorro, with Delon playing the masked avenger.[291] The actor is also the godfather of the French pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo, inaugurated by Carla Bruni and Nicolas Sarkozy.[292]

According to Vadym Omeltchenko, the Ukrainian ambassador to France: "Alain Delon is perceived by Ukrainians as the image of France, the image of French culture, of its art. For us, French culture has always been very important... Alain Delon is very well known in Ukraine."[293] During an interview broadcast on TV5 Monde in September 2022, Alain Delon expressed his support for the Ukrainian people in the face of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. A former actor and comedian, Zelensky salutes the French actor, saying: "I have never been as great an actor as you [...] We love you very much and for me you are always an authority and a huge actor."[294]

In 2012, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan welcomed Alain Delon, who was attending the premiere of the film Bonne année, mères in Yerevan. Sargsyan remarked that films featuring Alain Delon are widely known and highly popular in Armenia.[295][296]

He is admired in Iran.[297]

In Moscow, Delon is considered a modern incarnation of Apollo. His fame inspired the rock band Nautilus Pompilus to create the hit Alain Delon ne boit pas d'eau de Cologne, highlighting his image as a refined man preferring bourbon to low-end perfumes.[298]

In Italy, where he has worked with directors such as Luchino Visconti and Michelangelo Antonioni, Delon is still seen as an icon. Gian Luca Farinelli, director of the Bologna Cinematheque, notes that Delon "is part of the elite of actors who exert a kind of fascination, beyond their films. [...] Even today, he remains an icon and even young people, who do not necessarily know him, are sensitive to his beauty."[298]

Alain Delon is a "huge star" in Argentina, a country where moviegoers admire his collaborations with directors such as Luchino Visconti (The Leopard) and Michelangelo Antonioni (The Eclipse). Nora Lafón, a cultural columnist, points out that his success goes beyond his beauty: "In addition to his good looks, he is a great actor. Argentinians are cinephiles and the fact that he has worked with major directors explains his fame."[298]

The King of Morocco Hassan II, a cinephile and fan of French cinema, particularly appreciated Catherine Deneuve, Louis de Funès, and Alain Delon.[299]

Musical influence


A still shot of Delon in The Unvanquished appears on the cover of the 1986 album The Queen Is Dead by The Smiths, which was used with his written approval.[300] The song "Beautiful Killer" on Madonna's twelfth studio album MDNA is a tribute to Delon.[301] An early EP by the music group White Town was the "Alain Delon EP".[302] The song "A Look From The Screen" by Russian band Nautilus Pompilius is a tribute to Delon.[303] In 2010, Emma Daumas paid tribute to Alain Delon in the song Dans les yeux d'Alain Delon, on her E.P. Acoustic. Far from this chorus of praise, Marianne Faithfull, a friend of Nico's and who was Delon's partner in the cinema in the 1960s, mentions the actor on her album Kissin' Time. The Italian music group Baustelle (La canzione di Alain Delon), the Bulgarian music group Shturtzite (Alen Delon), Christoff de Bolle (Ich hab Alain Delon gesehn), Erlend Krauser (Deneuve Meets Alain Delon in The Train), Davide Van De Sfroos (L'Alain Delon de Lenn), Dann Stuyven (Dîner Delon), Sıla Gençoğlu and Ozan Doğulu (Alain Delon) and Femme Schmidt (Alain Delon) have all quoted and/or paid tribute to Alain Delon in their musical productions.[304]


In visual art


The physique of Alain Delon inspired Freeman, the protagonist of the manga Crying Freeman written by Kazuo Koike and illustrated by Ryōichi Ikegami, also adapted into a film by Christophe Gans. The manga and the anime series Beelzebub feature a vast array of fictional characters created by Ryūhei Tamura. One of the key characters is Batim do Emuna Alaindelon, a demon. The mentioned character is directly inspired by Freddie Mercury and named after Alain Delon.[305]

The manga and anime series Beelzebub feature an extensive cast of fictional characters created by Ryūhei Tamura. One of the key characters is Batim do Emuna Alaindelon, a demon. The character mentioned is directly inspired by Freddie Mercury and is named after Alain Delon.

The Italian comic strip Playcolt (128 issues divided into four series from 1972 to 1979) features Alain Velon (Paronomase of the actor Alain Delon), a billionaire playboy with a Delonian physique who later transforms into Playcolt, a kind of superhero.[306][307]

Monkey Punch is inspired by several French films and actors to create the relationships between his characters in his manga Lupin III. The Alain Delon-Charles Bronson duo in Adieu l'ami influences the interactions between Lupin and his accomplice Daisuke Jigen.[308]

Alain Delon's influence in Le Samouraï can also be felt in the comic strip Corps et Âme by Jef and Matz.[309] In Body and Soul, the main character is Frank Kitchen, a fearsome and methodical hitman.[310] The resemblance to Costello (played by Delon in Le Samuraï) is reflected not only in the character's physical appearance, but also in his behavior and stoic attitude in the face of adversity. As in The Samurai, where Delon's character is betrayed and must navigate a series of unforeseen challenges, Frank Kitchen finds himself in a new situation after an extreme revenge that transforms him physically.[311]

Lost Bullets, a comic book written by Walter Hill, features protagonist Roy Nash about a professional killer who has received a life sentence in the Joliet prison in Illinois.[312] Jef, the cartoonist, says that he chose to be inspired by the French actor to create Roy Nash's appearance because he appreciates Delon and his films.[313]

Michaël Sanlaville, an award-winning cartoonist in Angoulême in 2015 for Lastman, found his inspiration in the works of Frédéric Dard from a very young age. Having discovered the novels of San Antonio in his parents' attic, he decided to adapt these works into comic books. To embody San-Antonio, Sanlaville chose to base himself on the image of Alain Delon.[314] His sculptural face and piercing gaze perfectly embody the handsome, irreproachable and hieratic hero described by Dard.[315][316]

A significant part of the work of Russian artist and academician Nikas Stepanovich Safronov focuses on his series titled River of Time, where he portrays various modern personalities, whether famous politicians, actors, or pop music stars.[317] Among those depicted are Alla Pugacheva, Sophia Loren, Pierre Cardin, Elton John, and Alain Delon. These paintings have been acquired by collectors at major national and international exhibitions, and most of them are now displayed in private collections and renowned museums in Russia and Europe.[318]

Video game


The Hitman video game saga pays homage to Jean-Pierre Melville's film The Samurai. Indeed, Agent 47, the game's hitman, is an inspiration and a reference to the character of the killer played by Delon in The Samurai.[319]



Guillaume Delorme played Alain Delon in 2009 in a German TV movie, Romy, directed by Torsten C. Fisher and retracing his love story with Romy Schneider.[320] Alain Delon is the main subject of a play inspired by his career and the world of Jean-Pierre Melville, Alain Delon or almost, of Stéphane Dolivet. The play was premiered in July 2007 at the Avignon Festival. It was revived in a new version in 2010, "Alain Delon... and me."

Alain Delon's puppet in Les Guignols de l'info expresses himself in a grandiloquent way, speaking of himself in the third person.[321]



Alain Delon has been honored in various countries (Argentina, Belgium, Egypt, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Morocco, Romania, Russia, Senegal Switzerland, Spain Taiwan, Ukraine), often for his entire career.

Alain Delon was honored at the "Men of the Year 2001" ceremony with the World Actor 2001 trophy in Vienna, at the Imperial Hofburg palace in Austria.[322] Various personalities from the fields of arts (Steven Spielberg, Paul McCartney, Luciano Pavarotti), economy, and media (Ted Turner, Richard Branson) were also honored for their "exceptional contribution" to society.[323]





Delon's most acclaimed films, according to the review aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes, include Purple Noon (1960), Rocco and His Brothers (1960), L'Eclisse (1962), The Leopard (1963), Le Samouraï (1967), La Piscine (1969), Le Cercle Rouge (1970), and Monsieur Klein (1976).[347]



Numerous works (biographies, albums, novels, etc.) are dedicated to Alain Delon, both in France and abroad (Germany, Italy, the United States, the United Kingdom).

Books about Alain Delon

  • Henri Rode, The Fascinating Monsieur Delon, PAC, 1974.
  • Henri Rode, Alain Delon, PAC, 1982.
  • Philippe Barbier, Alain Delon: photo album, PAC, 1982.
  • Rein A. Zondergeld, Alain Delon – Der eiskalte Engel. Seine Filme, sein Leben. Heyne, 1984.
  • Olivier Dazat, Alain Delon, Seghers, 1988.
  • Rein A. Zondergeld, Alain Delon – Der eiskalte Engel. Seine Filme, sein Leben. Heyne, München 1994.
  • Rolf Aurich, Alain Delon – Tribute. Henschel, 1995.
  • Emmanuel Haymann, Alain Delon: splendours and mysteries of a superstar, Favre, 1998.
  • Henry-Jean Servat, Alain Delon: l'insoumis, 1957-1970, Volume 1, Albin Michel, 2000.
  • Bernard Violet, Les Mystères Delon, Flammarion, (2000) and J'ai lu (2001).
  • Henry-Jean Servat, Alain Delon: The Untamed (1970-2001). Volume 2, Albin Michel, 2001.
  • Roberto Chiesi, , Gremese Editore, 2002 (read online [archive])).
  • Philippe Durant, Alain Delon, Jean-Paul Belmondo: destins croisés, Carnot, 2004.
  • Franck Prazan, Alain Delon - Mes années 50, COMMUNIC ART, 2007.
  • Philippe Barbier, Christian Dureau, Delon Romy - They Loved Each Other So Much, Didier Carpentier, 2009.
  • Philippe Crocq, Jean Mareska, Alain Delon and Romy Schneider: Les fiancés de l'éternel, Editions Alphée, 2010.
  • Olivier Rajchman, Delon/Belmondo, L'étoffe des héros, Timée Editions, 2010.
  • Bertrand Tessier, Delon & Romy - Un amour impossible, Editions du Rocher, 2012.
  • Christian Dureau, Alain Delon en plein soleil, Editions Carpentier, 2012.
  • Nicole Calfan, Lettre entrouverte à Alain Delon, l'Archipel, 2012.
  • Ginette Vincendeau, The perils of trans-national stardom: Alain Delon in Hollywood cinema, article for the magazine Mise au point, 2014.
  • Philippe Durant, Gabin, Ventura, Delon... Les légendes du Polar, Sonatine, 2014.
  • Patrice Leconte, L'Encyclopédie Delon, Hugo Image, 2016.
  • Vincent Quivy, , Le Seuil, 2017 (read online [archive])).
  • Pierre Chédeville, Alain Delon, article for the magazine Médium, 2017.
  • Nick Rees-Roberts, Darren Waldron, Alain Delon: Style, Stardom and Masculinity, Bloomsbury Academic USA, 2017.
  • Michael Hone, French Homosexuality: From Henri III to Alain Delon, 2017.
  • Stéphane Guibourgé, La mélancolie d'Alain Delon, Pierre-Guillaume de Roux, 2017.
  • Stéphane Dolivet, Alain Delon et Moi, Les Cygnes, 2018.
  • Jean-Marc Parisis, A Problem with Beauty – Delon in the Eyes, Fayard, 2018.
  • Baptiste Vignol, Alain Delon. Une carrière, un mythe, book-DVD box set, Guy Messina editions, 2018.
  • Jean-Jacques Jelot-Blanc, Alain Delon: His Most Beautiful Images, AKFG Editions, 2019.
  • Isabelle Giordano, Alain Delon film by film, Gallimard Loisirs, 2019.
  • Baptiste Vignol, Alain Delon. The Last Cheetah, Gründ, 2020.
  • Christophe Leclerc, Alain Delon: The Actor Who Offers His Soul, Editions L'Harmattan, 2020.
  • Patrick Manchette, I'm going to make cinema (Alain Delon Genèse), Patrick Manchette, 2020.
  • Thilo Wydra, eine liebe in Paris. Romy & Alain. Heyne, 2020.
  • Collectif Revue Schnock, Alain Delon, La Tengo, 2020.
  • Laurent Galinon, , Mareuil, 2022, 220 p. (ISBN 978-2-37254-265-4).
  • Jean-Marc Parisis, A Problem with Beauty, Delon in the Eyes, Le Livre de poche, 2022.
  • Collectif, Delon - En large et en travers, Marabout, 2022.
  • Massimo Moscati, Alain Delon : L'ultimo divo, Bibliotheka Edizioni, 2022.
  • Cristiane Brandon, Alain Delon: Our Idol, Our Everything, Amalthée, 2023.
  • Bernard Pascuito, Delon, une vie aux guettets, l'Archipel, 2023.
  • Denitza Bantcheva, Liliana Rosca, Alain Delon, amours et mémoires, La Martinière, 2023.
  • Peter Bentz, Alain Delon, Bookmundo, 2023.
  • Mathew Manuel, Alain Delon: Biography - 25 Unrevealed Facts About Alain Delon, 2024.
  • Paul Walter, Alain Delon: The Man and the Legend, 2024.
  • Henriette Marello and Sylvie Renoir, La Cantinière du cinéma - Belmondo, Delon et les autres, Ramsay, 1994.
  • Carlo Scaringi, Zorro, Gremese, 1999.
  • Henri Agel, Le beau ténébreux à l'écran, l'Harmattan, 2000.
  • José Giovanni, Mes grandes gueules - Mémoires, Fayard, 2002.
  • Alain Brassart, The Young Premiers in French Cinema of the 60s, Cerf, 2004.
  • Ginette Vincendeau, Les stars et le star-système en France, l'Harmattan, 2008.
  • Philippe Durant, La Bande à Gabin, Points Virgule, 2011.
  • Diane Arnaud, Changes of Heads from Georges Méliès to David Lynch, Rouge Profond, 2012.
  • Hohannes Thiele, Romy Schneider, 2012.
  • Géraldine Danon, Fille à papa, Le Cherche midi, 2019.
  • Philippe Lombard, Les grandes gueules du cinéma français (Crossed paths in the filmography of Gabin, Ventura, Belmondo and Delon), Hugo document, 2021.
  • Luc Larriba, La Piscine, Huggin & Munnin, 2022.


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  30. ^ Bernard Violet, Les Mystères Delon, Flammarion, 2000, p.62 : "Brigitte Auber is formal. She remembers perfectly that Alain accompanied her at her request to Saint-Paul-de-Vence, where she owns a house."
  31. ^ Bernard Violet, Les Mystères Delon, Flammarion, 2000, p.67 : "There, he found Willson in the company of his most famous foal, Rock Hudson, who was then filming the exteriors of A Farewell to Arms under the direction of Charles Vidor. Alain Delon's essays in the Eternal City are going well, in the Cinecittà studios".
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  33. ^ Voir l'entretien donné par Renzo Barbieri à Graziano Origa en 2002.
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