A renowned French director of gangster movies, thrillers, and neo-noir films, Jacques Deray was born Jacques Desrayaud to a family of Lyons industrialists. He became interested in acting at an early age and went to study drama in Paris under René Simon. Deray played minor roles on the stage and screen through 1952, when he became an assistant director working with Jean Boyer, Gilles Grangier, Luis Buñuel, and Jules Dassin, among others. In 1960, he made his own directorial debut with Le Gigolo, but his reputation was not established until 1969's La Piscine, starring Romy Schneider and Alain Delon. With Delon, Deray went on to make eight more films including Borsalino, a seriocomic gangster picture that raked in five million admissions in France alone. Dedicated to the genre that won him favor with the audience, the director explored crime in its various guises: psychological thriller (Un Papillon sur l'Epaule), police actioner (Le Marginal), neo-noir thriller (On Ne Meurt Que Deux Fois), and spy film (Netchaïev Est de Retour). On these films, Deray worked with some of the biggest French stars of the period such as Jean-Paul Belmondo, Lino Ventura, Michel Serrault, and Yves Montand. A connoisseur of crime fiction, he adapted many French and English authors including Georges Simenon, Jean-Patrick Manchette, and Robin Cook. Though Deray's last big-screen venture was L'Ours en Peluche in 1994, he continued working for television and remained professionally active until his death.