Even in the busy French film industry, it's hard to find a more ubiquitous character actor than Patrick Chesnais. His seemingly endless list of credits stretches from the early 1970s, and covers many of the best-known movies from that country and several foreign productions as well. Chesnais's everyman looks served him well as he transformed into a wide range of characters, from the company director in the imaginative literature-themed dramedy "La lectrice" (1988) to the doctor caring for a near-completely paralyzed patient in "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (2007). For his work in the former, he won France's top movie award, the César, for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. Although he became known chiefly as a film presence, his debut was on TV, in the long-running anthology series "Au théâtre ce soir" (1970). Perhaps because he didn't have matinee-idol looks, it took some time for his career to catch fire. But once it did, he worked steadily and often for elite directors, such as Claude Lelouch in the time-travel fantasy La Belle Histoire, 1992. In addition to acting, Chesnais would occasionally handle directing and writing chores himself, such as on the 2001 dramedy "Charming Fellow."