Alain Delon is still considered an acting icon in French film. Now the “ice cold angel” is celebrating his 85th birthday.
Alain Delon (“The Panther”) was considered the James Dean of French film in the 1960s and 1970s. The actor turns 85 on November 8th. His appearance and charismatic charisma made him a heartthrob and a man’s idol. In many films, he embodied mostly shady yet attractive characters. Many people remember him as a calculating murderer like in “The Ice Cold Angel” (1967) or “The Swimming Pool” (1969). In his private life too, Delon’s life seems to be closely related to death and crime, and he came into contact with it in his childhood.
Childhood on the prison grounds
For a long time, not much was known about Delon’s childhood and adolescence. It was not until his 80th birthday that he was part of the documentation “Alain Delon, personally” first glimpses of his turbulent past. What hardly anyone knew before: The actor spent parts of his childhood on the premises of a prison. After his parents separated, he lived with foster parents in the small community of Fresnes, right next to a detention center. The foster father was a prison guard, which is why Delon played there with other children of the employees in the yard.
The foster parents died when Delon was eleven years old. He then lived alternately with his birth mother and father. He was expelled from school six times before training to be a butcher when he was 15. At the age of 17 he joined the French Navy and fought in the Indochina War in 1952. In a “star” interview he recalled: “That was the happiest time of my life. In a single night I learned the laws of the jungle and of killing and, weapon in hand, felt like a real man.”
The angel of death in a trench coat
Alain Delon never had the plan to become an actor, he revealed in an interview with the French newspaper “L’Express”. Through a mutual friend he met the wife of the director Yves Allégrets (1905-1987) after the war in 1956 and got a role thanks to his good looks.
In his film debut “Let Killer Ask”, Delon played a hitman in 1957 – and thus found his image that would haunt him for years. Delon also played sly and charming murderers in his cinematic breakthrough, “Nur die Sonne was Zeuge” (1960), as well as in his two greatest hits, “The Ice Cold Angel” and “The Swimming Pool”. The image of the beautiful actor established itself as an ice-cold angel of death in a trench coat.
The “Markovic Affair”
At the same time, it appeared that the lines between the Frenchman’s film roles and his real life were becoming increasingly blurred. After his headline-grabbing liaison with Romy Schneider (1938-1982), he was often accused of having affairs during his marriage to actress Nathalie Delon (79).
In addition, through his friendships with his bodyguards Milos Milosevic (1941-1966) and Stevan Markovic (1937-1968), he was said to have alleged relationships with the Parisian milieu. These two friends of all people died under mysterious circumstances in the late 1960s. Alain Delon was never accused by the authorities in connection with the so-called “Markovic Affair”.
Secluded life surrounded by numerous animals
All the headlines and bad rumors seem to be behind the French actor today. As early as 1999, Alain Delon increasingly withdrew from the film industry after 87 works. From time to time he played supporting roles like that of Caesar in “Asterix at the Olympic Games” (2008). After all, he had to cut back on health problems. Last year his son Alain-Fabien Delon (26) reported that his father had suffered cardiovascular weakness and a slight cerebral hemorrhage, from which he was able to recover.
After his relationships with Mireille Darc (1938-2017) and the Dutch model Rosalie van Breemen (54) also failed, Alain Delon now lives alone and withdrawn with many animals on an estate in Douchy, about 130 kilometers from Paris. From his relationships he has four children. Behind his house, Delon owns a cemetery for deceased animals, where he would like to be buried himself one day. “My pets”, he explained to the “star”, “have never let me down and have made me happy all my life”.