French leading man Michel Piccoli spent most of his time from 1945 through 1955 on the French stage, primarily with Theatre Babylone and the Reynauld-Barrault Company. He enjoyed nominal film stardom from 1955 onward, though it was not until 1961's Le Doulos that he truly became "box office," specializing in worldly, cynical roles. Like Hollywood's Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, and Gary Cooper, Piccoli was possessed of that rare gift of being able to adapt himself to virtually any kind of material without altering his essential screen persona. And like those aforementioned actors, Piccoli's talents suited the prerequisites of a wide variety of directors: not many contemporary performers can claim to have worked with Alfred Hitchcock, Jean-Luc Godard, Costa-Gavras, Luis Bunuel, and Louis Malle. Piccoli's acting awards include a Cannes Festival prize for 1979's Salto nel Vuoto and a 1982 Berlin Festival honor for Une Etrange Affaire. In 1991, Piccoli once again won international acclaim for his portrayal of an artist suffering from a creative block in La belle noiseuse. He subseqently continued to do steady work in pictures of varying quality, one highlight being Raul Ruiz's 1997 Généalogies d'une Crime, which cast Piccoli as a doctor caught up in a murder mystery. In 1976, Piccoli recorded his remarkable career on the page when he co-wrote a semi-autobiography, Dialogue Egoistes.
by Rovi biography