Tchéky Karyo

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Tchéky Karyo
Karyo in 2013
Baruh Djaki Karyo[1]

(1953-10-04) 4 October 1953 (age 70)
Istanbul, Turkey
Occupation(s)Actor, musician
Years active1982–present
SpouseIsabelle Pasco (m.1995, divorced)
PartnerValérie Kéruzoré

Tchéky Karyo (French: [tʃeki kɑʁjo]; born 4 October 1953) is a French actor and musician of Turkish origin. 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 nominated for a César Award for Most Promising Actor for his performance in the 1982 film La Balance.

His film credits include La Femme Nikita, Vincent and Me, Nostradamus, Crying Freeman, Bad Boys, GoldenEye, The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc, The Patriot and Kiss of the Dragon. His television roles include Dr. Willy Rozenbaum in the HBO film And the Band Played On, Georges Méliès in the HBO miniseries From the Earth to the Moon, and French detective Julien Baptiste in the BBC crime drama The Missing, and its spin-off series Baptiste (2019-2021).

Early life[edit]

He was named Baruh Djaki Karyo[1] at birth in 1953[1] in Istanbul, Turkey;[1] his mother was Greek Jewish and his father was from a Turkish Jewish family (Sephardic Jewish).[2] When he was young, his family moved to Paris, France, where he grew up. He attended the Parisian secondary school Lycée Arago.[1] As a young man, Karyo studied drama at the Cyrano Theatre,[1] and later became a member of the Daniel Sorano Company,[1] playing many classical roles.[1] The spelling of his name, Djaki, was changed to Tchéky in a form of French transliteration.


Karyo joined the National Theatre of Strasbourg,[1] where he starred in both contemporary and classical plays.[1] 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 La Femme Nikita, in which he played the heroine's spy mentor.[1]

Karyo at the 17th César Awards, 1992

He has appeared in many Hollywood movies, often portraying a French character, in the same fashion as Jean Reno.[1] His movie credits include 1994's Nostradamus in which he plays the famous French prophet, and 1995's Bad Boys opposite Will Smith and Martin Lawrence in which he plays a criminal named Fouchet.[1] He also appeared alongside Jet Li in Kiss of the Dragon (2001) as a corrupt and violent Paris police detective. He has acted in prominent roles in major films set during wartime. Such 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. He appeared in Martin Sheen's film The Way (2010) as Captain Henri.[1]

In 2014 and 2016 Karyo appeared as Julien Baptiste in the acclaimed BBC One/Starz drama series The Missing. He has received critical praise for his performance.[3] In April 2018, it was confirmed that Karyo would reprise his Baptiste role in a spin-off series titled Baptiste, to be written by Jack and Harry Williams.[4] The first six-episode series began on BBC One on 17 February 2019,[5] with a second series beginning on 18 July 2021.[6]

In 2018, Karyo appeared as Elisha in Mary Magdalene, written by Helen Edmundson and directed by Garth Davis.[7]

Karyo is also a musician and songwriter. In 2006 he released the album Ce lien qui nous unit (English: "The link that binds us"),[8] and released Credo in 2013 on his 60th birthday.[9]


In 1982, He was nominated for a César Award for Most Promising Actor for his role in La Balance.[1] In 1986, he was awarded the Jean Gabin Prize in recognition of his acting performances.[10]

Selected filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Language Director
1982 The Return of Martin Guerre Augustin French Daniel Vigne
La Balance Petrovic French Bob Swaim
1983 Le Marginal Francis Pierron French Jacques Deray
1984 Full Moon in Paris Remi French Éric Rohmer
1985 L'Amour braque Micky French Andrzej Zulawski
1986 Bleu comme l'enfer Frank French Yves Boisset
1987 Sorceress Étienne de Bourbon French Suzanne Schiffman
1988 The Bear Tom French Jean-Jacques Annaud
1989 Australia Julien Pierson French Jean-Jacques Andrien
1990 La Femme Nikita Bob French Luc Besson
Vincent and Me Vincent van Gogh French Michael Rubbo
1991 A Grande Arte (American title: Exposure) Hermes English Walter Salles
Isabelle Eberhardt Slimene English Ian Pringle
Husband and Lovers Paolo English Mauro Bolognini
1992 Red Shoe Diaries Phillip English Ted Kotcheff
1492: Conquest of Paradise Martín Alonso Pinzón English Ridley Scott
L'Atlantide Lieutenant Morhange French Bob Swaim
Sketch Artist Paul Korbel English Phedon Papamichael
1993 And the Band Played On Willy Rozenbaum English Roger Spottiswoode
1994 La Cité de la peur Monsieur Jacques, The First Projectionist French Alain Berbérian
Nostradamus Nostradamus English Roger Christian
1995 Colpo di luna Lorenzo Italian Alberto Simone
Crying Freeman Detective Netah English Christophe Gans
Bad Boys Antoine Fouchet English Michael Bay
GoldenEye Russian Minister of Defence Dmitri Mishkin English Martin Campbell
Foreign Land Kraft Portuguese Walter Salles and Daniela Thomas
Operation Dumbo Drop Goddard English Simon Wincer
1996 To Have & to Hold Jack English John Hillcoat
1997 Dobermann Inspecteur Sauveur Cristini French Jan Kounen
Habitat Hank Symes English René Daalder
Addicted to Love Anton English Griffin Dunne
1998 From the Earth to the Moon (miniseries) Georges Méliès English (various)
Let There Be Light Harper French Arthur Joffé
1999 My Life So Far Gabriel Chenoux English Hugh Hudson
Babel Nemrod French Gérard Pullicino
The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc Jean de Dunois English Luc Besson
Wing Commander Commodore James "Paladin" Taggart English Chris Roberts
2000 Arabian Nights Black Coda English Steve Barron
Le Roi danse Molière French Gérard Corbiau
Saving Grace Jacques Chevalier English Nigel Cole
The Patriot Major Jean Villeneuve English Roland Emmerich
2001 Kiss of the Dragon Inspector Jean-Pierre Richard English Chris Nahon
2002 The Good Thief Roger English Neil Jordan
2003 Utopia Hervé
The Core Serge English Jon Amiel
2004 A Very Long Engagement Captain Etienne Favourier French Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Taking Lives Chief Inspector Hugo LeClair English D. J. Caruso
Blueberry The Uncle English Jan Kounen
2005 Les Rois maudits (miniseries) Philip IV of France French Josée Dayan
2006 The Gravedancers Vincent Cochet English Mike Mendez
2007 Jacquou le Croquant The Chevalier French Laurent Boutonnat
Boxes Jean French Jane Birkin
The Lark Farm Aram English Paolo and Vittorio Taviani
2009 A Man and His Dog The Guitar Player In The Park French Francis Huster
Kaamelott (TV series) Manius Macrinus Firmus (Book VI) French Alexandre Astier
2010 The Way Captain Henri English Emilio Estevez
2011 A Gang Story Serge Suttel French Olivier Marchal
Forces spéciales Guezennec French Stéphane Rybojad
2012 No Limit (TV Series) Koskas French (various)
Pieces of Me Edern French Nolwenn Lemesle
2013 Jappeloup Marcel Rozier French Christian Duguay
Belle and Sebastian César French Nicolas Vanier
2014 The Missing, Series 1 (TV Series) Julien Baptiste English Tom Shankland
2015 Through the Air Armand Cavelle French Fred Grivois
Belle & Sebastian: The Adventure Continues César French Christian Duguay
2016 The Missing, Series 2 (TV Series) Julien Baptiste English Ben Chanan
2018 Mary Magdalene Elisha English
Belle and Sebastien: Friends for Life César French Clovis Cornillac
2019 Baptiste (TV series) - Series 1 Julien Baptiste English Börkur Sigþórsson
The Name of the Rose (TV miniseries) Pope John XXII English Giacomo Battiato
2020 ZeroZeroZero (TV miniseries) François Salvage English
2021 Baptiste (TV series) - Series 2 Julien Baptiste English Thomas Napper
2022 Women at War (TV miniseries) - Netflix Général Duvernet French Alexandre Laurent
2023 Liaison (TV series) - Apple TV+ Francis Miller French/English Stephen Hopkins
2023 Boat Story ’The Tailor’ English

Music videos[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Tcheky Karyo Biography". Retrieved 19 October 2022.
  2. ^ "Tcheky Karyo: I was brought up with respect for my Jewish roots".
  3. ^ Hogan, Michael (30 November 2016). "What on earth happened to Alice Webster? 11 big questions The Missing finale needs to answer". The Daily Telegraph.
  4. ^ James, Sarah (1 April 2018). "The Missing to get new spin-off Baptiste starring Tcheky Karyo". Digital Spy. Retrieved 14 October 2018.
  5. ^ "When does Baptiste start on BBC1? What's The Missing spin-off about and who's in the cast?". Radio Times. Archived from the original on 2019-02-17. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  6. ^ "BBC One - Baptiste". BBC. 18 July 2021.
  7. ^ "'Mary Magdalene' Film Review: Rooney Mara Plays Jesus' Gal Pal in Snoozy Epic".
  8. ^ "Ce Lien Qui Nous Unit – Tcheky Karyo – Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  9. ^ ""Crédo", le deuxième album de Tchéky Karyo chanteur". Culturebox (in French). Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  10. ^ International Motion Picture Almanac. Quigley Publishing Company. 2007. p. 260. ISBN 978-0-900610-80-6.

External links[edit]