Despite never having pursued a career outside of Europe, veteran actor Jan Decleir is respected worldwide and is arguably the greatest Belgian actor of his generation. A graduate of Antwerp's Studio Herman Teirlinck drama school, the physically-imposing Decleir started working on TV and short films in the mid-1960s, and had his first high-profile role in the 1971 Flemish drama "Mira." While racking up numerous TV credits, he won praise for his involvement in film festival favorites like "One Page of Love," with Geraldine Chaplin, and director Chantal Akerman's understated Brussels-set drama "A Whole Night." However, it was not until the 1990s that he entered the international spotlight. In that decade, Decleir played the lead in historical biopic "Daens," which was nominated for the Best Foreign Language Oscar, and had major roles in the agricultural drama "Antonia's Line" and the 1997 psychological mystery "Character"--in which he played the intimidating Dreverhaven--both of which won the Academy Award in that category. Decleir subsequently turned down roles in both Stanley Kubrick's 1999 swan song, "Eyes Wide Shut," and the Bond movie "The World Is Not Enough," opting instead to work close to home. Describing Decleir in his review of the 2003 film "The Memory of a Killer," Roger Ebert wrote, "Jan Decleir never goes for the easy effect, never pushes too hard, is a rock-solid occupant of his character. Everything he has to say is embodied, not expressed. ...Decleir is the real thing."