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French acting legend Alain Delon will receive this year’s honorary Palme d’Or during the Cannes Film Festival.
Delon was the first Tom Ripley (a role later reprised by Matt Damon) in 1960’s Purple Noon, an adaptation of the Patricia Highsmith novel, and went on to star in Luchino Visconti’s Palme d’Or winner The Leopard in 1963, which also earned him a Golden Globe nomination.
Festival artistic director Thierry Fremaux said that Delon had at first hesitated to accept the honor, but expressed his delight that the actor had finally acquiesced.
“We’re talking about a giant, a living legend and a global icon,” Fremaux said in a statement, noting Delon has appeared in “countless masterpieces.”
Some of those include Hollywood classics, as he made his name in the U.S. following the Palme win. Delon went on to star alongside Jane Fonda in Joy House and Shirley MacLaine in The Yellow Rolls-Royce in 1964; Ann-Margret in Once a Thief the following year; and Marianne Faithfull in 1968’s The Girl on a Motorcycle. He also appeared alongside Anthony Quinn in 1966’s Lost Command.
Delon also had the starring role in Lino Ventura’s The Last Adventure and Louis Malle’s section in the anthology Spirits of the Dead alongside Brigitte Bardot. His turn in Jean-Pierre Melville’s classic Le Samourai was a major influence on directors John Woo and Quentin Tarantino.
The actor is a Cannes regular. He has appeared in four films that have screened on the Croisette as well as presented awards and worked to curate films for restoration in the classics section.
The 2019 Cannes film festival will run May 14 – 25. The full lineup will be announced April 18.
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