Who is Jean Reno?

It’s safe to say that few Hollywood actors have left an indelible mark as deep as Jean Reno. With a magnetic presence that captivates audiences and an unparalleled talent that transcends language barriers, Jean has carved a distinguished path through the film industry. He has over 100 acting credits to his name, however, his breakthrough role came in the 1983 critically acclaimed film “Le Dernier Combat” (The Last Battle), directed by Luc Besson, signaling the start of an extraordinary collaboration between the two.

This collaboration reached its pinnacle with the iconic portrayal of Léon in the 1994 hit movie “Léon: The Professional”, a role that not only showcased Jean’s ability to evoke empathy from the audience but also solidified his status as an international star.

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Early life, family, and education

Born Juan Moreno y Herrera-Jiménez under the zodiac sign of Leo on 30 July 1948, he’ll soon celebrate his 75th birthday. A native of Casablanca, then French Morocco, he holds both French and Spanish nationality. He was raised by his Spanish parents, natives of Jerez de la Frontera and Sanlucar de Barrameda in Andalusia, alongside his younger sister, Maria Teresa. Their parents moved to Morocco during the Spanish Civil War.

When Jean was 12 years old, the family moved to France. Aged 17, he began attending acting classes, and upon matriculating in 1966, he served in the French Army, which was mandatory. Jean studied acting under the great French actor, Rene Simon, at the Cours Simon School of Drama, in Paris, France.

Acting career- beginnings

Jean made his acting debut in an episode of the 1974 TV series “One Mystery a Day”. After he launched his acting career, Jean adopted the French version of his birth name Juan, and shortened his surname ‘Moreno’ to Reno. From 1977 through 1981, Jean performed in every play directed by Didier Flamand.

Concurrently, he made his big screen debut in the 1978 French movie “L’hypothèse du Tableau Vole”, and in the following year, Jean co-starred in “Womanlight”, written and directed by Costa-Gavras. Jean played Moraglia in the 1980 TV mini-series “Mail from the Sky”, followed by his supporting roles in “The Penultimate” (1981) and “The Passerby” (1982).

Jean’s career gained momentum with his breakthrough and first lead role as The Brute in “The Last Battle”, and he became a prominent figure in French cinema. His collaboration with Luc Besson played a pivotal role in shaping his future in the film industry.

In the following years, Jean was seen in “Our History” (1984), “The Telephone Always Rings Twice” (1985), “Zone Rouge” (1986), and “The Big Blue” in 1988, which was his first English-language film.

Two years later, Jean was seen as Victor in Luc Besson’s movie “Nikita”, starring Anne Parillaud, which achieved huge commercial success worldwide. Jean followed with his role as Father Victorio Gaetano in the 1991 sports drama “The Man in the Golden Mask”, written and directed by Éric Duret, and later that year, he was seen in “Operation Corned Beef”, in which he starred opposite Christian Clavier.

As Jean’s career blossomed, he continued to captivate audiences with his extraordinary performances, and since the list of his roles is too long to enumerate, we will focus on some of his most significant roles.

Most notable roles

The early ‘90s saw Jean as Godefroy de Papincourt, Comte de Montmirail in the 1993 hilarious comedy “The Visitors”, which earned Jean the Cesar Award, France for Meilleur Acteur (Best Actor). The movie followed the story of a medieval knight and his servant, Jacquouille la Fripouille, Jacquard (Christian Clavier) who instead of being sent back in time, found themselves in the 20th century.

In the following year came one of the most important Jean’s roles – his portrayal of Léon in the action thriller “Léon: The Professional”, which is still one of the best-rated movies. It followed the story of a hitman who unwillingly takes in 12-year-old Mathilda Lando (Natalie Portman) after the corrupt Drug Enforcement Administration agent murders her family. As Matilda becomes his protégé and picks up his assassin skills, Leon and Matilda develop a unique bond. The movie had 16 award nominations and five wins.

Jean followed with his roles in “French Kiss” (1995), “Mission: Impossible” (1996), and “Roseanna’s Grave” (1997) before he reprised his role as Comte Godefroy in the 1998 sequel “The Visitors II: The Corridors of Time”. Later that year, Jean was seen in the hit movies “Godzilla” and “Ronin”.

The early 2000s saw him starring as Pierre Niemans in the 2000 mystery thriller “The Crimson Rivers”, written and directed by Mathieu Kassovitz, among many others, and another of his notable roles was his portrayal of Ponton in the 2006 comedy “The Pink Panther”, also starring Steve Martin, which won the ASCAP Film and Television Music Award for Top Box Office Films.

He was offered the role of Agent Smith in the subsequent hit movie “The Matrix”, but he turned down the role because he didn’t like the idea of leaving his home for months of filming in Australia. Many were surprised by his decision, however, it seems that we’ll never know how this would affect his career.

It appears that this wasn’t one of those bad life decisions, since in the following years, Jean’s captivating performances have spanned a variety of genres, from dramas to action-packed thrillers. He’s worked with renowned directors from Hollywood and Europe thanks to his remarkable versatility, further expanding his global appeal.

Later in 2006, Jean starred opposite Tom Hanks in “The Da Vinci Code”, a mystery thriller, which had 21 award nominations and eight wins. Next, he starred in “Cash” (2008) and reprised his role as Ponton in the 2009 sequel “The Pink Panther 2”, followed by his roles in “22 Bullets” (2010), “Margaret” (2011), and “The Chef” (2012), among many others.

In the following year, Jean was cast to play the lead role of Jo St-Clair in the TV mini-series “Jo”, a crime mystery drama about a veteran detective from Paris who resolves the most challenging cases. Although the show had no nominations, it was well accepted by the audience.

Worth mention is Jean’s portrayal of Diego Baresco in the 2014 comedy “Hector and the Search for Happiness”, also starring Simon Peg and Rosamund Pike, which was nominated for the Leo Award- Best Motion Picture.

Two years later, he was seen in “The Visitors: Bastille Day”, which also achieved great success. Jean was next seen as Augusto Flores in 2017 critically acclaimed crime drama “The Girl in the Fog”, which followed the story of the disappearance of a 16-year-old girl in an isolated town in a remote mountain valley. The movie won Golden Globe, Italy Award for Best Screenplay.

Next, Jean starred in “A Magical Journey” (2019), was seen as Claude Van De Velde in the 2020 series “Die Hart”, also starring Kevin Hart, John Travolta, and Nathalie Emmanuel, then in “Waiting for Anya” (2020), and “Promises” (2021), among others. Most recently, Jean reprised his role as Claude in the 2023 movie adaptation of the aforementioned series “Die Hart”.

Jean’s fans will be happy to hear that he has six upcoming projects, and one of those movies, entitled “Antigang: La Releve” is set to premiere in 2024, while the others are currently in post-production.

Love life and relationships

Like many of his fellow actors, Jean has been the subject of various rumors concerning his love life, however, what we do know is that he was married twice before he met his now-wife.

Jean’s first wife was a non-celebrity Geneviève Reno, whom he married in 1977. In the following year, they welcomed their first child, daughter Sandra, their son Mickael was born in 1980, but the couple divorced eight years later.

In the early ‘90s, while walking down the Champs Elysées, Paris’s biggest avenue, Jean met his second (future) wife, Natalie Dyszkiewicz, a Polish model, whom he married in 1995. They have two children together, son Tom who was born in 1996, while two years later, Natalie gave birth to their daughter, Serena. Jean and Natalie divorced in 2001.

Since 29 July 2006, Jean has been married to British actress and model Zofia Borucka. The two wed at the Les Baux-de-Provence city hall, and Jean’s best man was Nicolas Sarkozy, a French politician and former President of France.

Jean and Zofia have two sons together – Cielo born in July 2009, and Dean in September 2011. As of July 2023, Jean is still in marriage with Zofia.

How rich is Jean Reno? Net worth

During his early days in France, Jean Reno developed a passion for acting and performing arts. He attended drama classes and gradually perfected his craft, dreaming of a future in the world of cinema. Perhaps he didn’t know what his talent would bring him, however, now as a veteran actor, according to critics, he’s established himself as one of the greatest.

You must have been wondering how rich this renowned actor is? Well let us tell you that according to sources, as of July 2023, Jean Reno has a net worth estimated at over $70 million.

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