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Jean Dujardin Biography

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Birth Name: Jean Dujardin
Born: 06/19/1972
Birth Place: Paris, , FR

Born June 19, 1972 in the Paris suburb of Rueil-Malmaison, Jean Dujardin began in sketch comedy as part of Nous C Nous, a popular parody troupe that gained national attention on the television variety series "Graines de star" (1996). He then co-starred in "Un gars, une fille," one of 30 international adaptations of a Quebecois sitcom about the everyday life of a couple. The French version, which was broadcast in seven-minute daily sketches, was a substantial success, and led to opportunities in feature films for Dujardin. "Un gars, un fille" also introduced him to his second wife, co-star Alexandra Larny, with whom he fell in love and married during the series' final season.

After appearances in the comedy "Welcome to the Roses" (2003) and the expensive Western spoof "Lucky Luke and the Daltons" (2004), which introduced him to writer-director Michael Hazanavicius, he found his star-making role in 2005's "Brice de Nice," a broad comedy about a hapless would-be surfer who attempts to rob a bank in order to maintain his spendthrift lifestyle. Dujardin, who co-wrote the film, also scored a Top 5 hit on the French singles chart with "Le Casse de Brice," a song from its soundtrack. In 2006, he reteamed with Hazanavicius for "007 117: Cairo, Nest of Spies," a spoof of '60s European spy films with Dujardin as a bumbling secret agent. A considerable hit in its native country, as well as on the international festival circuit, "OSS 117" earned Dujardin a Cesar nomination, the French equivalent of an Oscar nod, and a rarity for comic actors in that country. More importantly, it forged a collaborative relationship between the actor and Hazanavicius that would yield major acclaim for their subsequent efforts.

After leading turns in a handful of Gallic releases, most notably "A Man and His Dog," which featured French cinema icon Jean-Paul Belmondo - an actor whose innate, roguish charm was often cited as an antecedent of Dujardin - and a few ventures into drama like Bertrand Blier's cop drama "Counter Investigation," he reunited with Hazanavicius for "OSS 117: Lost in Rio" (2009), an equally cheeky follow-up to their previous spy spoof. Dujardin then moved into darker territory with "The Clink of Ice" (2010), a black comedy about an alcoholic writer (Dujardin) who met the personification of his terminal cancer, and 2011's "Little White Lies" as a critically injured man whose self-absorbed friends refused to let his condition interrupt their summer holiday.

That same year, Dujardin and Hazanvicius embarked on their most ambitious project to date: "The Artist," a loving tribute to Hollywood's silent era and the larger-than-life personalities that inhabited its films before the advent of sync-sound features. Dujardin gave an alternately winning and moving performance as a once-charming silent leading man whose precipitous career decline coincided with the rise of "talking pictures," as represented by a vivacious actress, played by Hazanavicius' wife, Berenice Bejo. The film's relentless energy, most notably in a lengthy dance sequence featuring Dujardin and Bejo, made it a critical hit on both sides of the Atlantic, with most of the praise focused on Dujardin's performance. Wins for Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival, the Golden Globes, the Independent Spirit Awards and the Academy Awards boosted his international profile considerably. After hosting a 2012 episode of "Saturday Night Live" (NBC 1975- ), Dujardin filmed his first two major Hollywood films, Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street" (2013) and George Clooney's "The Monuments Men" (2014).

By Paul Gaita