Actor turned writer/director Vincent Perez began his career as French cinema's "jeune premier romantique," its young, pretty-faced romantic. Journalists dubbed him "monsieur heartthrob" and a "nice bit of Europe-crumpet"; the readers of Paris Match magazine elected him the World's Sexiest French Speaker. He starred in a series of European costume dramas, in which he romanced France's top leading ladies -- Emmanuelle Béart, Catherine Deneuve, Isabelle Adjani -- and showed a penchant for full-frontal nude scenes. But he also matured into one of Europe's most gifted players, winning the prestigious Jean Gabin Prize and garnering several César nominations. He worked all over the world with many of cinema's greatest filmmakers before beginning his own promising directing career. While still admired for his charming good looks, Perez is ultimately known for his accomplishments and widely praised for his talents.
Born in Lausanne, Switzerland, Perez is the middle child of a German mother and a Spanish father. An imaginative youngster, he spent the majority of his time drawing pictures and composing stories. Perez idolized Charlie Chaplin and soon became interested in writing and producing films. He began putting on shows at school, which he would star in and direct. Yet, he dreamed of being a painter, sculptor, or photographer, and eventually dropped out to enter photography school. While there, he worked as a photographer's apprentice and took art classes. But the solitary lifestyle of an artist frightened him and, fearing that he would become too lonely, Perez quickly returned to acting. He enrolled at the Conservatory of Dramatic Arts in Geneva, where he studied before moving to Paris in 1984. He spent two years at the celebrated Conservatory of Dramatic Arts in Paris and then transferred to the experimental Ecole des Amandiers de Nanterre, where he trained under famed theater and opera director Patrice Chéreau. Perez impressed Chéreau, who cast the actor in many of his plays and is often credited with discovering him.