21 March 2014

Anthony Delon

Former wild boy Anthony Delon (1964) is the son of screen idol Alain Delon and film actress Nathalie Delon. The handsome French-American actor was first better known as a jet setting playboy than as a serious film star, but coming of age he stepped out of the shadow of his famous father.

Anthony Delon
French postcard no. 1036.

Genes and Good Looks

Anthony Delon was born as Antoine Delon in the famous Cedar Sinai hospital of Beverly Hills, USA. He was the son of actors Alain Delon and Nathalie Delon, and at the time, his father worked in Hollywood.

After his family’s return to France, Anthony spent his first school years at bilingual schools. After the divorce of his parents in 1968, he lived with his mother. He was a rebellious and wild child and his parents sent him to a boarding school.

When 19, Delon had his own leather company and part-owned a club, but his business partner in the venture was shot. Delon himself, for unrelated incidents, went to prison for a month. In the US, his genes and his good looks helped him get a modelling job with American photographer Bruce Weber.

This lead to a leading part in the Italian romance-drama Una spina nel cuore/A Thorn in the Heart (Alberto Lattuada, 1986), loosely based on the novel with the same title by Piero Chiara. His co-stars were Sophie Duez and Antonella Lualdi.

Even more prestigious was his next leading part in the drama Crónica de una muerte anunciada/Chronicle of a Death Foretold (Francesco Rosi, 1987), adapted by Tonino Guerra from the eponymous novel by Gabriel García Márquez. The film also starred Rupert Everett, Ornella Muti, and Gian Maria Volonté, and premiered at the Cannes film festival in May 1987.

According to Wikipedia, the film was a critical success in Latin America and Eastern Europe but was snubbed by the French critics.

At 24, Delon returned to the US and lived in Los Angeles for two years. He took some acting classes for about six months, and then just partied. He was even once, alongside Ivana Trump, Joan Collins and Richard Branson, one of the Miss World judges. During the 1980s, playboy Delon was one of the boyfriends of Princess Stéphanie of Monaco, and he also had a relationship with sexy actress Valerie Kaprisky.

Anthony Delon
French postcard by Editions Humour à la Carte, Paris, no. ST-184.

Anthony Delon, Sophie Duez
Italian postcard. Photo: publicity still for the Italian romance-drama Una spina nel cuore/A Thorn in the Heart (Alberto Lattuada, 1986) with Sophie Duez.

A Huge Box Office Smash

In 1990 Anthony Delon returned to France. He played parts in the film comedies La Femme fardée/The Strange Woman (José Pinheiro, 1990) with Jeanne Moreau, which was a spectacular flop.

He found most of his work on TV in series and films like Sup de fric/Cash Academy (Christian Gion, 1992), starring Jean Poiret.

Ten years after Crónica de una muerte anunciada, Delon played a small role in the French film La Vérité si je mens!/Would I Lie to You? (Thomas Gilou, 1997), about working-class immigrants living in metropolitan Paris. It was a huge box office smash and lead to two sequels.

For Delon, the success meant he could finally step out of the shadow of his father. That same year, he played the lead in the TV miniseries Deserto di fuoco/Desert of Fire (Enzo G. Castellari, 1997). This was a European co-production between Italy, Germany and France, with a cast including such European stars as Claudia Cardinale, Arielle Dombasle, Vittorio Gassman, Marie Laforêt, Franco Nero, Fabio Testi and Jean Sorel.

The following years, he played several roles in French TV series and films. In the TV film Un amour de femme (Sylvie Verheyde, 2001) he played the husband of a woman (Hélène Fillières) who has an affair with a female dance instructor (Raffaëla Anderson).

Other films were the comedy Jeu de cons/Con Games (Jean-Michel Verner, 2001), the drama Danse avec lui/Dance With Him (Valérie Guignabodet, 2007) with Mathilde Seigner and Sami Frey, and Mensch (Steve Suissa, 2009) starring Nicolas Cazalé.

Anthony Delon
French postcard no. 68.

Anthony Delon
French postcard no. 1023.

That Essential Quality Of Being Alive

In 2006, Anthony Delon married his long-time girlfriend Sophie Clerico. He has two daughters with her, Lou Delon (1996) and Liv Delon (2001).

In his autobiography, Le premier maillon (2008), he wrote that he has another daughter, Alyson Le Borges (1986), from an affair with a former Crazy Horse dancer, Marie Hélène.

Recently, Delon appeared with Charles Dance and Anouk Aimée in the British film Paris Connections (Harley Cokeliss, 2010) written by Michael Tupy, based on a thriller by Jackie Collins. It was the first film funded by supermarket Tesco and released exclusively in their stores.

He also had a small part in the French drama film Polisse/Poliss (Maïwenn, 2011) with French rapper Joeystarr, Karin Viard, and Riccardo Scamarcio. The film centres on the Brigade de Protection des Mineurs, the Child Protection Unit of the Paris Police, and a photographer who is assigned to cover the unit. The title is a childish spelling of the word ‘police’. The film won the Jury Prize at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival and in 2012, it was nominated for thirteen César Awards (the French Oscar), winning two.

James Travers at French Film Guide (formerly Films de France): “Yet, whilst the film is crude, and unbearably tacky in a few places, it has that essential quality of being alive. In fact, it is a film that positively bursts with life. If we care to look beyond the soap-tinted surface, the characters and the world they inhabit do have a depth and reality to them, we do empathise with the troubled child protagonists and acquire a deeper respect for their police protectors. It is a film that it is difficult to like entirely, and some will doubtless hate it for the inelegant way it knocks the stuffing out of today's mainstream cinema conventions, yet it is a film that has definitely made its mark.”

Trailer Paris Connections (2010). Source: Parisconnections (YouTube).

Sources: Tobias Jones (The Independent), James Travers (French Film Guide), AllMovie, AlloCiné (French), Wikipedia (French and English), and IMDb.

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