Considered one of the most talented French actors of his generation, Maurice Ronet was born into a theatrical family, and took to the stage while young. He studied under Jean-Louis Barrault, the noted actor and mime, at the prestigious Paris Conservatoire. By the age of 22, he was appearing in films, starting in Jacques Becker's comedy "Rendezvous in July," which was shown at the Cannes Film Festival in 1949. During these early years, the dapper actor was often cast in sleek thrillers as the romantic lead; he worked with such renowned directors as Sacha Guitry and Jules Dassin. In the mid-to-late 1960s, Ronet acted frequently in New Wave noirs directed by Claude Chabrol. He was pitted against superstar Alain Delon in "Purple Noon," the first movie made about Patricia Highsmith's classic literary knave, the talented Tom Ripley. And he was paired off with the sultry Jeanne Moreau in the jazzy suspense story "Elevator to the Gallows," the first film directed by Louis Malle. Ronet's second collaboration with the director, "The Fire Within," was a major change in tone. As an alcoholic teetering on the verge of suicide, the actor garnered the best notices of his career. A man of varied interests, Ronet also wrote, painted, and directed two films, including an adaptation of Herman Melville's tale of alienation, "Bartleby, the Scrivener." He lived with Josephine Chaplin, daughter of silent-film tramp Charlie Chaplin and granddaughter of playwright Eugene O'Neill, from 1977 until his death from cancer.