One of France's biggest pop music stars for over four decades, Patrick Bruel earned multiple No. 1 albums in a variety of genres, from teen-oriented pop to traditional chansons, while also enjoying a busy second career as an actor in French dramas and action films. Born Patrick Maurice Benguigui on May 14, 1959 in Tiemcen, a small town in Algeria, he was brought to France in 1962 by his mother and raised in the Paris suburb of Argenteuil. Though football was his first true passion, he developed an interest in singing through his mother's record collection, where he discovered French pop stars like Jacques Brel and Michel Sardou, as well as English-language rock performers like Eric Clapton. He began his professional music career as an entertainer at French clubs, but got his first taste of stardom as an actor, playing a young French-Algerian in the film "Le Coup de Sirocco" (1978). The following year, Bruel traveled to New York City, where he met Gérard Presgurvic. The pair would soon form a creative partnership, with Presgurvic serving as Bruel's chief songwriter. Upon his return to Paris, Bruel issued his first single, "Vide" ("Empty," 1982), but its follow-up "Marre de cette nana-là" ("Enough of That Chick," 1983) became his first substantial hit. A second hit, "Comment Ça Va Pour Vous" ("How's It Going For You"), followed in 1985, as well as appearances in a string of features, including "Le Batard" (1982) and "Le Grand Carnaval" (1983). However, Bruel's first LP, <i>De Face</i> (1986), was only a modest success, and it would be three years before he would issue another studio album. His sophomore effort, <i>Alors Regarde</i> (1989), was a major success, buoyed by the hit single "Casser la Voix" ("To Break the Voice"), and a subsequent tour through France and abroad in 1990 established Bruel as a bona fide pop sensation, with the media dubbing the hysterical reaction of teenaged female fans "Bruelmania." A third studio album, simply titled <i>Bruel</i> (1994), was a marked departure from its predecessors, hewing closer to a guitar-driven rock sound than his earlier pop ballads. The results were received with less enthusiasm, though Bruel remained a popular concert and moviehouse draw. He devoted more of his energy to his acting career, which encompassed hits like Francis Veber's "Jaguar" (1995) and Sydney Pollack's "Sabrina" (1996). He also displayed a talent for competitive poker, winning the Limit Hold 'Em championship in the 1998 World Series of Poker. When Bruel finally returned to the studio in 1999 to complete <i>Juste Avant</i>, he was dabbling with South American and African influences; the result was another hit album, reaching over a million copies in sales. In 2002, he tackled the venerable chanson style of French pop, recording duets with such established statesmen of the genre as Johnny Hallyday and Charles Aznavour for the double-LP <i>Entre Deux</i> ("Between Two"). It too proved popular, selling over two million copies and establishing Bruel as the highest paid singer of the year. In 2005, he recorded a charity single, "Et puis la terre," which benefitted Red Cross recovery efforts in the wake of the South Asian tsunami of 2004. By the late 2000s, Bruel was firmly established as one of France's most popular performers, scoring another chart-topping album with <i>Des souvenirs devant</i> (2006) and enjoying roles in high-profile film projects like Claude Chabrol's "L'ivresse du pouvior" (2007) and Claude Miller's "Un Secret" (2007). After focusing on his acting career for the next five years, Bruel published his autobiography before releasing a new album, <i>Lequel de nous</i> (2012), which became his fifth No. 1 album.