One of the first things you should know about
Vincent Perez is that he is NOT French. Though his birthplace is Lausanne, Switzerland
where French is spoken, he descends from Spanish and German blood. He was born on June 10,
1964, the second of three children. His father left Spain for a better life and began
working in the import/export business while his mother left her native land and settled as
a homemaker. Though his father wanted him to study business, Vincent had other
dreams, and with the encouragement of his mother, he left Switzerland and moved to France
when he was eighteen.
Before settling on acting, he considered becoming a
sculptor, painter or photographer. He says, "I decided not to be an artist because I
feared solitude. It was a way of dealing with my fears. I was extremely shy and unhappy
with my life." He adds that he had dreamed of becoming an actor since seeing a
Charlie Chaplin movie at the age of 7. "I recognized myself in him."
Vincent describes himself as a quiet, accident-prone boy. However, he was drawn to
acting because of the laughs he got doing impersonations of teachers and classmates for
He began his acting studies in Geneva, went on to the Paris Conservatoire
and completed his training at L'Ecole des Amandiers in Nanterre. Vincent quickly learned
during his first years out of school, working in the French theater, that
audiences elsewhere could be tougher. "Nothing is going to be given to you, you have
to work and work," Perez says. "Everything is sweat."
While still a student, he made his screen debut in Gardien De Nuit
(1986.) He gained a worldwide following when he co-starred with Gerard Depardieu in
the phenomenally successful Cyrano De Bergerac (1990)and went on to starring
roles in the 1993 Oscar winner Indochine, Alexandre Jardin's Fanfan and
Patrice Chereau's 1994 Cannes prize-winning La Reine Margot. In 1992 he was
awarded the prestigious Prix Jean Gabin and in the same year made his directing debut with
the short film L'Exchange. He has been nominated twice for a Cesar Award
for Best Supporting Actor for his performances in Le Bossu (1997) and Ceux
Qui M'aiment Prendront le Train (1998).
Vincent Perez has been married to Senegalese model/actress/writer Karine
Silla since 1998. They live in France with their four children - Roxane (fathered by
Gerard Depardieu), Iman, and twins Pablo and Tess. During Vincent's bachelor days, he
romanced actress Jacqueline Bisset and model Carla Bruni.
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