Famous French Film & Theater Personalities

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‘Lights, Camera & Action’ – With this begins a story that unfolds at various junctures, taking with it, its audience on a virtual tour of a paralleled world showcased by the actors. Films and stage shows are two of the most modern sources of entertainment that people today are glued to. Though all flashy and glamorous superficially, filmmaking is an intricate art that involves a lot of things than few people playing character actors. Right from director who conceptualizes a vision to screenwriter to pens the entire plot to art director who sets the look of each frame, action director who plans the fights and brawls to choreographers who make the artists dance to the tune and spot boys who help at various genres, there are a lot of artists involved in filmmaking. The French film industry, one amongst the world’s most renowned film industries, is home to some of the finest and most talented individuals who have helped French cinematic experience reach the zenith. With their strong sense of acumen, overpowering talent and insightful approach, they have managed to ring glory to French cinema. Some such personalities include Patrick Bokanowski, Anna Held, Audrey Tautou, Antonin Artaud, Avril Lavigne and so on. Check out this section for the life and works of French film and theatre personalities.
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 1 
Eva Green
(Actress and Model Known for Her Independent Films: ‘Cracks’, ‘Womb’, and ‘Perfect Sense’)
Eva Green
13
Birthdate: July 6, 1980
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Paris, France

French actress, Eva Green, gained instant fame in 2003 with her first film The Dreamers, directed by the eminent Bernardo Bertolucci. Subsequently she went on to act in a number of notable films like Kingdom of Heaven, Casino Royale, Dark Shadows, Home for Peculiar Children, Franklyn, Cracks and Proxima. She has also acted in television series like Penny Dreadful and Luminaries.

 2 
Léa Seydoux
(Actress and Model Best Known for Her Role as ‘Junie’ in the Film ‘The Beautiful Person’)
Léa Seydoux
7
Birthdate: July 1, 1985
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Passy, Paris, France

Léa Seydoux is a critically acclaimed French actress who gained international recognition after playing a Bond girl in Spectre. Also known for her modeling career, Seydoux has posed for popular magazines, such as Vogue, L'Officiel, and Numéro. She became the face of Prada's 2013 and 2014 campaign for its fragrances.

 3 
Marion Cotillard
(French Actress Best Known for Her Films: 'La Vie en Rose' and 'Two Days, One Night')
Marion Cotillard
12
Birthdate: September 30, 1975
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris, France
Marion Cotillard delivered an Academy Award-winning performance as Edith Piaf in La Vie en Rose, becoming the first to win the award for a French-language film. She was appreciated for her iconic role of Joan of Arc on stage. She has promoted Lady Dior bags and Chanel No. 5 fragrance.
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 4 
Emma Mackey
(French-British Actress Best Known for Her Role as ‘Maeve Wiley’ in the TV Series ‘Sex Education’)
Emma Mackey
9
Birthdate: January 4, 1996
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Le Mans, France

French-British actor Emma Mackey is best known for her portrayal of Maeve Wiley in the Netflix series Sex Education. Some of her upcoming projects include Emily Brontë’s biopic and the thriller Death on the Nile. She has also appeared in the TV projects Badger Lane and Summit Fever.

 5 
Lily-Rose Depp
(Actress, Model and Daughter of the American Actor, Johnny Depp, and French Actress Vanessa Paradis)
Lily-Rose Depp
9
Birthdate: May 7, 1999
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Paris, France

Lily-Rose Depp is the daughter of famous American actor Johnny Depp and popular French singer and model Vanessa Paradis. Lily-Rose followed in her parents' footsteps to become active in the entertainment industry. Despite suffering from anorexia in the past, Lily-Rose Depp has managed to establish herself as an actress in Hollywood.

 6 
Olga Kurylenko
(Ukrainian-French Actress Who Portrayed the Role of Bond Girl in the James Bond Film 'Quantum of Solace')
Olga Kurylenko
7
Birthdate: November 14, 1979
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Berdyans'k, Ukraine

Olga Kurylenko is a Ukrainian-French model and actress. She gained international recognition after playing a Bond girl in the 2008 film Quantum of Solace. Olga Kurylenko serves as an inspiration to many young girls as she overcame her difficult childhood to become the face of popular brands like Clarins and Bebe.

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 7 
Josephine Baker
(First Black Woman to Star in a Major Motion Picture, the 1927 Silent Film 'Siren of the Tropics')
Josephine Baker
4
Birthdate: June 3, 1906
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: St. Louis, Missouri, United States
Died: April 12, 1975
Nicknamed Black Pearl and Creole Goddess, Josephine Baker was the first Black woman to appear in a motion picture. She was a revue dancer, famous for her signature banana costume. A civil rights activist, she helped the French military during World War II. She adopted 12 children of different ethnicities.
 8 
Vanessa Paradis
(Singer, Model and Actress)
Vanessa Paradis
11
Birthdate: December 22, 1972
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Saint-Maur-des-Fossés, France

French singer and actress, Vanessa Paradis, became a celebrity at the age of 14 with the French song Joe le taxi in 1987. She tasted further success with English songs like Be My Baby and many other French songs. She has also acted in several French films and has modelled regularly for high-end fashion products by Chanel like perfume and handbags.

 9 
Mélanie Laurent
(Known for Her Performance in ‘Now You See Me’ and ‘Inglourious Basterds’)
Mélanie Laurent
7
Birthdate: February 21, 1983
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paris, France

French actor Mélanie Laurent shot to fame with her Étoiles d'Or-winning role in Dikkenek and her César Award-winning performance in Don't Worry, I'm Fine. She made her Hollywood debut with Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds, and was also seen in Now You See Me. She has also released a music album.

 10 
Brigitte Bardot
(French Actress and Singer Known for Her Films: ‘And God Created Woman’ and ‘Viva Maria!’)
Brigitte Bardot
4
Birthdate: September 28, 1934
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris, France

Brigitte Bardot is a French former singer and actress. One of the most popular sex symbols of the 1950s and 1960s, Bardot remains a major pop culture icon despite quitting the entertainment industry in 1973. Bardot is credited with popularizing the bikini. She also popularized the town of Armação dos Búzios and the city of St. Tropez in Brazil.

 11 
Vincent Cassel
(French Actor Known for His Role in the 'Ocean's' Trilogy and Titular Role in the Biopic 'Mesrine')
Vincent Cassel
4
Birthdate: November 23, 1966
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Paris, France

While he first came to prominence with his role in La Haine, French actor Vincent Cassel later got typecast in roles of short-tempered men. He has also won a César Award for his portrayal of Jacques Mesrine in the 2008 movie Mesrine. He is a trained martial artist, too.

 12 
Pom Klementieff
(Known for Her Role of 'Mantis' in the Marvel Cinematic Universe Films)
Pom Klementieff
6
Birthdate: May 3, 1986
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Quebec City, Canada

French actress and model Pom Klementieff is internationally known for her role as Mantis in Marvel Cinematic Universe films. She had a difficult childhood and struggled a lot in her youth. She started acting when she was 19 and appeared in many French films. After establishing herself in French cinema, she made her Hollywood debut in 2013. 

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 13 
Jean Reno
(French Actor Who has Worked in American, French, English, Japanese, Spanish and Italian Movie Productions)
Jean Reno
5
Birthdate: July 30, 1948
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Casablanca, Morocco
French-Moroccan actor Jean Reno is best known for his roles in Godzilla, The Pink Panther, and Mission Impossible. He has also been part of French, Japanese, Italian, and Spanish films, and was nominated for a European Film Award for his role in Les Rivières pourpres, or Crimson Rivers.
 14 
Sophie Marceau
(French Actress Known for Her Films: 'Braveheart', 'Anna Karenina' and 'The World Is Not Enough')
Sophie Marceau
6
Birthdate: November 17, 1966
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Paris, France
Sophie Marceau is best known for her César Award-winning performance in the French comedy La Boum 2. She has also appeared in English films such as Braveheart, Firelight, and The World Is Not Enough. She has written a novel, is a trained cellist, and has delivered an award-winning directorial debut.
 15 
Charlotte Gainsbourg
(Known for Her Work in Films Like 'Antichrist,' 'Melancholia,' 'The Tree' & 'Persecution')
Charlotte Gainsbourg
5
Birthdate: July 21, 1971
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: London, England

Charlotte Gainsbourg, daughter of French singer Serge Gainsbourg and English actor Jane Birkin, made her singing debut at age 12. She is best known for her César Award-winning roles in La Bûche and An Impudent Girl. Her performance in Antichrist won her an award at the Cannes Film Festival.

 16 
Eric Cantona
(French Actor and One of the Greatest Footballers of His Generation)
Eric Cantona
5
Birthdate: May 24, 1966
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Marseille, France

Eric Cantona is a French actor, filmmaker, and former football player. During his playing career, Cantona was a key player for the popular football club Manchester United and is often credited with reviving the club's reputation as a footballing force. Nicknamed King Eric by Manchester United fans, Eric Cantona continues to enjoy an iconic status within the club.

 17 
Élodie Yung
(Actress)
Élodie Yung
4
Birthdate: February 22, 1981
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paris, France
 18 
Kristin Scott Thomas
(Character actor, Stage actor, Film actor)
Kristin Scott Thomas
10
Birthdate: May 24, 1960
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Redruth
 19 
Max von Sydow
5
Birthdate: April 10, 1929
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Lund, Sweden
Died: March 8, 2020

Max von Sydow was a Swedish actor and director. In an illustrious career spanning seven decades, Max contributed immensely to American and European cinema, theatre, and television. He appeared in 11 of Ingmar Bergman's films, including The Seventh Seal, which houses the iconic scene where Max's character challenges the personification of Death to a game of chess.

 20 
Catherine Deneuve
(Actress and Singer)
Catherine Deneuve
4
Birthdate: October 22, 1943
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Paris, France

French actress Catherine Deneuve is considered one of the greatest European actresses. Beginning her career at the age of 12, she gained international prominence with her role in the movie The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. She is a 14-time César Award nominee and the recipient of a David di Donatello award. She is multilingual and speaks fluent French, Italian, and English.

 21 
Juliette Binoche
(Actress Known for Her Films: 'The English Patient ', 'Chocolat' and 'Certified Copy')
Juliette Binoche
4
Birthdate: March 9, 1964
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paris, France
French actor Juliette Binoche began her career with stage productions. She soared to fame with her Academy Award-winning role of Hana in The English Patient and her Academy Award-nominated role of Vianne in Chocolat. She has also been a marked political activist and has supported the Cambodian charity Enfants d'Asie.
 22 
Alexa Davalos
(American Actress Known for Her Role as ‘Gwen Raiden’ in the TV Series ‘Angel’)
Alexa Davalos
4
Birthdate: May 28, 1982
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Paris, France

Alexa Davalos is an American actress who started her career by modeling for popular photographers like Peter Lindbergh. After making her acting debut in 2002, Davalos went on to land important roles in TV series like Reunion, Mob City, and The Man in the High Castle.

 23 
Jean-Luc Godard
(Film Director and a Pioneer of the 1960s 'French New Wave' Film Movement)
Jean-Luc Godard
3
Birthdate: December 3, 1930
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: September 13, 2022

The Paris-born French-Swiss director and screenwriter had the reputation of adding new dimensions to filmmaking with his experimentation, a trend which came to be known as the French New Wave. The director of acclaimed films like Breathless, My Life to Live and Pierrot le Fou, Jean-Luc Godard was married to actress Anna Karina. He is regarded as an all-time great director.

 24 
Hervé Villechaize
(Best Known for His Role in the James Bond Film 'The Man with the Golden Gun')
Hervé Villechaize
5
Birthdate: April 23, 1943
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: September 4, 1993

French-American actor Hervé Villechaize is best remembered for playing the evil henchman in the James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun. Born with dwarfism, he was bullied at school for his condition. After initially working as an artist, painter and photographer, he ventured into acting. He was popular and much loved by the audience.

 25 
Olivier Martinez
(French Actor Known for His Films: 'Un, deux, trois, soleil' and 'The Horseman on the Roof')
Olivier Martinez
4
Birthdate: January 12, 1966
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Paris, France
French actor Olivier Martinez gained fame with his César Award-winning performance in Un, deux, trois, soleil. He has also appeared in Hollywood films such as Unfaithful and S.W.A.T. He is a polyglot who is fluent in French, Spanish, and English. He was married to Halle Berry in the past.
 26 
Audrey Tautou
(French Actress Best Known for Her Role in the Film 'Amélie')
Audrey Tautou
3
Birthdate: August 9, 1976
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Beaumont, Puy-de-Dôme, France
French actor Audrey Tautou is best known for her stellar performances in films such as Amelie and The Da Vinci Code. She played Coco Chanel in the biopic Coco Before Chanel. Tautou is also a fashion icon, popularly known as “The Chanel Muse,” and has modeled for top-notch fashion magazines.
 27 
Jacques Cousteau
(Co-Inventor of the First Open-Circuit, Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus 'Aqua-Lung')
Jacques Cousteau
4
Birthdate: June 11, 1910
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Saint-André-de-Cubzac, France
Died: June 25, 1997

Jacques Cousteau was a French explorer, naval officer, filmmaker, conservationist, scientist, photographer, researcher, and author. Renowned for his exploration of various forms of life in water, Jacques Cousteau is credited with pioneering marine conservation and co-developing the Aqua-Lung, the first underwater breathing apparatus to achieve popularity and commercial success.

 28 
Luc Besson
(Film Director, Screenwriter, and Producer Known for Making Highly Visual Thriller and Action Films)
Luc Besson
4
Birthdate: March 18, 1959
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paris, France

Luc Besson is a French film director, producer, and screenwriter. He started working in the film industry as an assistant to famous directors and learned the nuances of direction. He then moved on to direct films and launched his own production company. He is considered a key figure in the Cinéma du look movement. 

 29 
Donald Pleasence
3
Birthdate: October 5, 1919
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Worksop
Died: February 2, 1995

Donald Pleasence was an English actor best remembered for his portrayal of Ernst Stavro Blofeld in the popular 1967 James Bond movie You Only Live Twice. His performance in the film was later parodied by Canadian actor Mike Myers in the Austin Powers film series. Donald Pleasence was also an important theatre actor; he received four Tony Award nominations.

 30 
Isabelle Adjani
(French Actress and Singer Who is the Only Person in History to Win Five César Awards)
Isabelle Adjani
4
Birthdate: June 27, 1955
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Paris, France

Isabelle Adjani is a French singer and actress. A critically acclaimed performer, Adjani is the only person to receive five César Awards. In 1988, Isabelle Adjani became the first French actress to earn two nominations at the Academy Awards for foreign-language films. She has also received other prestigious awards like the Silver Bear for Best Actress.

 31 
Lucas Bravo
3
Birthdate: March 26, 1988
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Nice, Alpes-Maritimes, France

Lucas Bravo is a French model and actor best known for his portrayal of Chef Gabriel in the popular comedy-drama series Emily in Paris. His performance in the Netflix series has earned him important roles in a couple of upcoming films, such as Ticket to Paradise and Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris.

 32 
Jane Birkin
(Singer, songwriter and actress)
Jane Birkin
3
Birthdate: December 14, 1946
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Marylebone, London, England
 33 
Isabelle Huppert
(French Actress Best Known for Playing Cold and Disdainful Characters)
Isabelle Huppert
4
Birthdate: March 16, 1953
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paris, France

Isabelle Huppert is a French actress best known for playing cold and disdainful characters. Regarded as one of the finest actresses of her generation, Huppert has won several prestigious awards, such as a BAFTA Award, Golden Globe Award, and César Awards. In 2020, Isabelle Huppert was ranked second on The New York Times' greatest actors of the 21st century list.

 34 
Leslie Caron
(Actress & Dancer Known for Her Films: 'Lili' and 'The L-Shaped Room')
Leslie Caron
3
Birthdate: July 1, 1931
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Boulogne-sur-Seine, Paris, France
French-American actor Leslie Caron is best known for her BAFTA-winning roles in The L-Shaped Room and Lili. She has also won a Golden Globe and an Emmy. A seasoned actor, she began her career as a ballerina. She has also been a jury member at various international film festivals.
 35 
François Truffaut
(One of the Founders of the 'French New Wave' Art Movement & An Icon of the French Film Industry)
François Truffaut
3
Birthdate: February 6, 1932
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: October 21, 1984

François Truffaut was a French film director, producer, screenwriter, and actor. He is credited to be one of the founders of the French New Wave. Beginning his career in the mid-1950s, he was active in the entertainment industry for close to three decades. His film The 400 Blows is considered a defining film of the French New Wave movement. 

 36 
Clémence Poésy
4
Birthdate: October 30, 1982
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Meudon, Hauts-de-Seine, France
 37 
Gérard Depardieu
7
Birthdate: December 27, 1948
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Châteauroux, France

Gérard Depardieu is a French actor who achieved international recognition after playing Jean Cadoret in the 1986 period drama film Jean de Florette. One of the most prominent and critically acclaimed actors, Depardieu has won two Cesar Awards from 17 nominations so far. He has also won other prestigious awards like Golden Globe Awards and London Critics Circle Film Awards.

 38 
Alain Delon
(One of Europe’s Most Prominent Actors and Screen Sex Symbols from the 1960s to 1980s)
Alain Delon
4
Birthdate: November 8, 1935
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Sceaux, France

Alain Delon is a French actor, screenwriter, singer, filmmaker, and businessman. One of the most prominent actors and sex symbols in Europe during the 1960s and 1970s, Delon achieved critical acclaim for his performance in films like Rocco and His Brothers. In 1985, he was honored with the prestigious César Award for his portrayal of Robert Avranches in Our Story.

 39 
Romy Schneider
(Best Known for Her Role as ‘Empress Elisabeth’ in the Romantic Biopic ‘Sissi’)
Romy Schneider
4
Birthdate: September 23, 1938
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Vienna, Austria
Died: May 29, 1982

German-French actor Romy Schneider began her career with the Heimatfilm genre of films as a teenager. She appeared as Empress Elisabeth of Austria in the Austrian Sissi trilogy and in Ludwig. She is also remembered for her César Award-winning roles in Une histoire simple and L'important c'est d'aimer.

 40 
Yael Grobglas
(French-Israeli Actress Best Known for Her Roles as 'Petra Solano' in the TV Seies 'Jane the Virgin')
Yael Grobglas
3
Birthdate: May 31, 1984
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Paris, France

Yael Grobglas is an Israeli actress known for her performance in the popular American satirical telenovela Jane the Virgin. After appearing in a couple of Israeli films, Grobglas achieved international recognition when she played Shir in a horror film titled Rabies. She then established herself in the American TV and film industry by appearing in projects like Jane the Virgin.

 41 
Alejandro Jodorowsky
(Chilean-Born French Film Director and Screenwriter)
Alejandro Jodorowsky
3
Birthdate: February 17, 1929
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Tocopilla, Chile

Chilean-French filmmaker and artist, Alejandro Jodorowsky, is best known for his avant-garde films. A multifaceted personality, he is also a novelist, poet, musician, composer, and spiritual guru. His films are filled with surreal images and mysticism. A much-revered figure in international cinema, he is the recipient of the Jack Smith Lifetime Achievement Award from the Chicago Underground Film Festival (CUFF).

 42 
Omar Sy
(The First Black Recipient of César Award for Best Actor)
Omar Sy
4
Birthdate: January 20, 1978
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Trappes, France

Omar Sy is a French actor who achieved international recognition for his portrayal of Bakary Bassari in the 2011 buddy comedy-drama film The Intouchables. For his performance in the movie, Omar Sy became the first Black actor to receive the prestigious César Award for Best Actor. He has also appeared in other popular films like Jurassic World and Inferno.

 43 
Christopher Lambert
(Best Known for His Role as Connor MacLeod in the Movie 'Highlander')
Christopher Lambert
4
Birthdate: March 29, 1957
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Great Neck, New York, United States

Christopher Lambert shot to fame with his portrayal of Tarzan in the 1984 film Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes. He is also known as Connor MacLeod from the Highlander franchise and as Raiden from Mortal Kombat. He has also been part of several French films.

 44 
Emmanuelle Seigner
(French Actress, Former Fashion Model, and Singer)
Emmanuelle Seigner
4
Birthdate: June 22, 1966
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Paris, France
French actor Emmanuelle Seigner was initially a model. She gained recognition with her roles in films such as The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. She also earned César Award nominations for her roles in Venus in Fur and in Place Vendôme. She is married to legendary film director Roman Polanski.
 45 
Astrid Berges-Frisbey
(Best Known for Playing 'Mermaid Syrena' in the Film ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides’)
Astrid Berges-Frisbey
3
Birthdate: May 26, 1986
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Barcelona, Spain

Born to a French-American mother and a Spanish father, Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey had initially worked as a waitress and had even decided to pursue a career in osteopathy. The actor-model later made waves with her roles in The Sea Wall and the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise.

 46 
Dominique Wilkins
(Basketball Player)
Dominique Wilkins
3
Birthdate: January 12, 1960
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Paris, France
 47 
Angelique Boyer
(French-Mexican Actress)
Angelique Boyer
4
Birthdate: July 4, 1988
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Saint-Claude, France
French-Mexican actor Angelique Boyer is best known for her appearances in telenovelas such as Corazón Salvaje and Rebelde. She was previously part of the band Rabanitos Verdes. She has won awards such as the Premios Juventud and the Premios TVyNovelas. She has also been part of the film J-ok'el.
 48 
Frank Darabont
(Director and Screenwriter Known for His Films 'The Green Mile’ and 'The Shawshank Redemption')
Frank Darabont
3
Birthdate: January 28, 1959
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Montbéliard, France

A lifelong fan of horror books and movies, especially of Stephen King, three-time Oscar nominated film director and screenwriter Frank Darabont decided to take up film making as his profession after seeing THX 1138. Beginning his career with screenwriting, he debuted as director with Buried Alive, eventually making such magnificent films like Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile and The Mist.

 49 
Julie Delpy
(Actress)
Julie Delpy
4
Birthdate: December 21, 1969
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Paris, France
 50 
Manuel Ferrara
(Pornographic Actor and Director)
Manuel Ferrara
5
Birthdate: November 1, 1975
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Le Raincy, France

Manuel Ferrara is a French pornographic film actor and director. One of the most popular personalities in the porn film industry, Ferrara has received more than 64 adult industry awards, such as AVN Awards, XBIZ Awards, XRCO Awards, and NightMoves Awards. He has also been inducted into the XRCO and AVN Halls of Fame.