Jean Marais

Actor, Director, Stage designer
Although he harbored a desire to act, Jean Marais was rejected by the top drama schools in France. The son of a doctor from whom his mother separated in 1917, he came to the attention of film director Maurice L'Herbier ... Read more »
Born: 12/11/1913 in France


Actor (27)

Stealing Beauty 1996 (Movie)

Monsieur Guillaume (Actor)

Les Miserables 1995 (Movie)

Bishop Myriel (Actor)

Horst: Still in Vogue 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)


La Belle et la Bête 1992 (Movie)

Avenant (Actor)

Les Enfants du Naufrageur 1992 (Movie)

Old Man With a Limp (Actor)

Next of Kin 1986 (Movie)

Victor Blaise (Actor)

Parking 1984 (Movie)


Ombre et secrets 1981 (Movie)


Donkey Skin 1969 (Movie)

King (Actor)

Le Jouet criminel 1969 (Movie)


Fantomas 1964 (Movie)

Newsman (Actor)

Fantomas se dechaine 1964 (Movie)


Thomas the Imposter 1964 (Movie)

Narration (Narrator)

Les Miracle des loups 1961 (Movie)


The Testament of Orpheus 1961 (Movie)

Oedipus (Actor)

White Nights 1961 (Movie)

Tenant (Actor)

Austerlitz 1960 (Movie)

Carnot (Actor)

Le Capitan 1959 (Movie)


Le Bossu 1958 (Movie)


If Paris Were Told To Us 1956 (Movie)

Francois I (Actor)

Julietta 1956 (Movie)

Andre Landrecourt (Actor)

Royal Affairs in Versailles 1956 (Movie)

Louis XV (Actor)

Elena and Her Men 1955 (Movie)

Rollan (Actor)

Futures Vedettes 1955 (Movie)


Le Comte de Monte Cristo 1953 (Movie)


Killer Spy (Movie)



Although he harbored a desire to act, Jean Marais was rejected by the top drama schools in France. The son of a doctor from whom his mother separated in 1917, he came to the attention of film director Maurice L'Herbier who cast him in small roles in "L'Epervier" and "L'Aventurier" (both 1933). Marais worked at the theater run by Charles Dullin in return for acting classes and a chance to play minor stage roles. In 1937, the actor met the man who would change his life--poet, playwright and designer Jean Cocteau. They became lovers and Cocteau began to utilize the handsome Marais in various stage productions like "Oedipe Roi" and as Sir Galahad in "Les Chevaliers de la table rond." The writer created the role of the smothered son in "Les Parents terribles" especially for the actor, which proved an artistic high point for both. With his striking looks, ethereal charm and vulnerability, Marais proved a perfect choice to embody Cocteau's tragic heroes. He first made his mark in the author's retelling of the Tristan and Isolde myth in "L'Eternal retourne/The Eternal Return" (1943), directed by Jean Delannoy. But perhaps their best-known collaboration remains the poetic masterpiece "La Belle et la bete/Beauty and the Beast" (1945). Of their remaining films together, the 1948 version of "Les parents terribles" ranks as the best. By the time of "Orphee" (1949), their personal relationship was ending, although they remained close friends.


separated from Marais' mother c. 1917

separated from Marais' father c. 1917

Henri Marais


Jean Cocteau Other

directed Marais in several features including "La Belle et la bete" (1946) and "Orphee" (1950)

Serge Marais

adopted survived him


St Nicholas School

College de St Germain


attended schools in Condorcet and Janson de Sailly



Final film role as an elderly art dealer in "Stealing Beauty", directed by Bernardo Bertolucci


Acted in Claude Lelouch's "Les miserables"


Appeared as the Devil in "Parking", in a musical remake of "Orphee" directed by Demy


Made London stage debut playing the father in a revival of "Les parents terribles", opposite Lila Kedrova


Cast as the king in Jacques Demy's fairy tale "Peau d'ane/Donkey Skin"


Acted in and directed a stage revival of Cocteau's "Oedipe Roi"


Undertook the leading role in the remake of "Fantomas"; reprised role in several sequels


Appeared in Abel Gance's "Austerlitz"


Reunited with Cocteau for "Le testament d'Orphee"; also marked Cocteau's final film


Appeared with Maria Schell and Marcello Mastroianni in Luchino Visconti's "Les nuits blanches/White Nights"


Had title role in "The Count of Monte Cristo"


Reteamed with Cocteau for "Orphee"; last collaboration for a decade


Recreated stage role in Cocteau's filming of "Les parents terribles"


Originated the role of Stanislas, a poet chosen to assassinate a Queen with whom he instead falls in love in Cocteau's play "L'aigle a deux tetes/The Eagle With Two Heads"; recreated role on screen in 1948


Had one of his greatest screen triumphs as the Beast in Cocteau's "La Belle et la bete/Beauty and the Beast"


Starred in "L'eternal retour/Eternal Return", a modern-day version of the Tristan and Isolde, directed by Jean Delannoy and scripted by Cocteau


Acted in, directed and designed the stage production "Britannicus"


Served in the French Air Force


Created role of the son smothered by his moter in play "Les Parents terribles"; part written especially for him by Cocteau


Met Jean Cocteau; acted on stage in Cocteau's productions of "Oedipe roi/Oedipus Rex" and "Les chevaliers de la table rond/Knights of the Round Table"


Studied acting with Charles Dullin; acted in minor roles with Dullin's company


Left school and worked as a photographer's apprentice

Toured as "King Lear"

Played Prospero in a staging of Shakepeare's "The Tempest"

After WWI, moved to just outside Paris with his mother

Briefly spent time as a company member of the Comedie-Francaise; did not act on stage

Began studying acting; came to the attention of Marcel L'Herbier who cast him in first film role in "L'Epervier" (1933)

Returned to the Comedie-Francais

Began playing swashbuckling roles in the 1950s

Bonus Trivia


He was awarded the Croix de Guerre in 1944.


Marais had a lifelong interest in painting and an exhibition of his work was held in 1995.


Marais was promoted to the rank of Commander of the French Legion of Honor in 1995.