The product of a broken home, Alain Delon had a stormy childhood. He was frequently expelled from school.
During the early 50s - parachutist with French Marines in Indochina; mid-50s - worked at various odd jobs including, waiter, salesman, and porter in Les Halles market; 1957 - film debut in Yves Allégret's Quand la femmes s'en mele; declined contract with Selznick studios; 1960 - received international recognition for his role in Visconti's Rocco and His Brothers (1960); 1961 - stage role in Tis Pity She's a Whore, directed by Visconti, Paris; 1964 - formed film company Delbeau Productions; produced short film directed by Guy Gilles; 1968 - involved in murder, drug, sex scandal that indirectly implicated major politicians and show business personalities, eventually cleared of all charges; late 60s - formed film company Adel Film; 1970 - began producing feature films; 1981 - directed film Pour la peau d'un flic.
Without previous professional preparation, Alain Delon came to embody the young, energetic, often morally corrupted man. With his breathtaking good-looks, he was also predestined to play tender lovers and romantic heroes, and he was in the beginning a French embodiment of the type created in America by James Dean. His first outstanding success came with the role of the parasite Tom Ripley in Clement's sun-drenched thriller Purple Noon (1960). Delon presented a psychological portrait of a murderous young cynic who attempts to take on the identity of his victim. A totally different role was offered to him by Visconti in "Rocco e i suoi fratelli". In this film, Delon plays the devoted Rocco, who accepts the greatest sacrifices to save his characterless brot her Simon. After several other films in Italy, he returned to the criminal genre with Jean Gabin in Any Number Can Win (1963). This work, a classic example of the genre, was distinguished not only by a soundly worked-out screenplay, but also by the careful producti on and the excellent performances of both Delon and Gabin. It was only in the late sixties that the sleek and lethal Delon came to epitomise the calm, psychopathic hoodlum, staring into the camera like a cat assessing a mouse. His tough, ruthless side was first used to real effect by Jean-Pierre Melville in Le Samouraï (1967). In 1969, he had a huge success in the bloodstained Borsalino, which he also produced, playing a small-time gangster who, with Jean-Paul Belmondo becomes king of the Marseilles thirties underwo rld. Delon later won critical acclaim for his roles, against type, in Joseph Losey's Mr. Klein (1976) in which Delon played (brilliantly) the icily sinister title role, and the art-movie Swann in Love (1984). He has an older son Anthony Delon (who has also acted in a number of movies) from his first marriage to Nathalie Delon, and has a young son and daughter, Alain-Fabien and Anouchka with Rosalie.