French actor Pierre Clémenti made his film debut in Luchino Visconti's Il Gatopardo (The Leopard) (1963). Dark, slender, and handsome, Clémenti is frequently cast as a cruel, volatile, or decadent character. Before entering films, he had extensive experience on the Paris stage. Though he appeared in two more films during the early to mid-'60s, it was not until he starred in Luis Buñuel's Belle de Jour (1967) that the actor gained international fame. Clémenti subsequently appeared in many European productions. In 1972, his career was derailed after he was sentenced to prison for allegedly possessing or using drugs. Due to insufficient evidence, Clémenti was released after 17 months; later he penned a book about his time in prison. Throughout his career, he continued to be active on-stage; he was also involved with the French underground film movement. In 1976, Clémenti made his directorial debut with Visa de Censure.