Prolific and versatile French character player Patrick Chesnais received his formal dramatic training under the tutelage of René Simon and Lise Delamare at the famed Conservatoire National d'Art Dramatique in Paris in the late '60s, and took his premier bow as an actor in 1976, with a small role in Jacques Rozier's The Castaways of Turtle Island. Over four dozen assignments ensued over the following few decades, typically supporting roles for acclaimed directors including Jacques Renard (Monsieur Albert), Diane Kurys (Cocktail Molotov), Michel Deville (La Lectrice), and Claude Lelouch (La Belle Histoire). Chesnais debuted as a writer/director with the 2001 Charmant Garçon, in which he also starred; in that romantic comedy, he played a middle-aged loser who attempts to make a serious play for a woman after hitting her car. Chesnais subsequently netted a fair amount of international attention for his supporting turn as a slightly unctuous physician in Julian Schnabel's festival darling The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007).
photo credit: Francois Durand/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
by Nathan Southern biography