The son of Parisian stage star Lucien Guitry, Sacha Guitry was born and raised in pre-Czarist Russia. A restless youth, Guitry attended some dozen schools before finally completing his education at 17. That same year, Guitry wrote the first of his 120 plays, most of them vehicles for his own considerable performing skills. In 1915, Guitry wrote, directed and photographed an obscure silent-movie short subject, Ceux de chez Nous; three years later, he acted before the cameras for the first time. Throughout the 1920s, Guitry resisted films, feeling that they could not do full justice to his gift for dialogue and characterization. Though he would act in and write a brace of early talkies, he did not direct his first feature, Bonne chance, until 1935. Guitry was so much the renaissance man that one is tempted to label him the French Orson Welles; in truth, he was more the French Preston Sturges, exhibiting a firmer grasp of dialogue than a flair for visuals. Remaining in Paris during the occupation, Guitry was forbidden by the Nazis to act on stage; ironically, once the Germans were booted from Paris, Guitry spent two months in prison on a collaboration charge. Guitry devoted his last decade to turning out some rather ponderous historical spectacles, few of which exhibited the wit or sophistication of his best plays. Sacha Guitry was married four times; each of his wives was an actress, but only wife #2, Yvonne Printemps, became a star in her own right.