Gérard Xavier Marcel Depardieu was born in Châteauroux, Centre, France, the son of a sheet metal worker. His acting career started in the 1970s and by the early 1980s, he was one of the leading French actors gaining much attention for his role opposite Fanny Ardant in François Truffaut's film "La Femme d'à côté" (The Woman Next Door), and winning his first César Award for Best Actor for his role in "Le Dernier métro". He also starred in "Le Retour" of Martin Guerre in 1982. In the 1990s he achieved some fame in North America too. His most significant English-language productions are "Green Card" with Andie MacDowell and "1492: Conquest of Paradise".
Depardieu is the highest-paid actor in France, and one of the most powerful within the French film industry. In addition to the nearly 150 motion-pictures he has appeared in, he has also directed and/or produced several major films through his company, "DD Productions". In 2005, he released a cookbook entitled "Gérard Depardieu: My Cookbook".