Delon, an on-screen giant of European cinema, memorably starred in Luchino Visconti’s The Leopard, which won the Palme d’Or in 1963, Rocco And His Brothers, Purple Noon (Plein Soleil), The Eclipse, The Samurai, The Swimming Pool and Le Cercle Rouge. The actor has more than 80 films to his name, most recently starring as Julius Caesar in Pathé’s big-budget Asterix movie from 2008.
“Pierre Lescure and I are delighted that Alain Delon has accepted to be honoured by the Festival,” said Thierry Frémaux, Cannes artistic director. “He hesitated for a long time, having long been reluctant to this Palme d’or because he thought he should only come to Cannes to celebrate the directors he had been working with.”
A number of Delon’s films have played at Cannes and he has often attended the festival. He has said his acting days are now behind him but according to a recent interview he has one career regret: “There is one thing I’ve missed out on that will always haunt me: I would have liked to have been directed by a woman before I die,” he said.
Previous recipients of the Honorary Palme include Jeanne Moreau, Woody Allen, Bernardo Bertolucci, Jane Fonda, Clint Eastwood, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Manoel de Oliveira, Agnès Varda and Jean-Pierre Léaud.
Cannes, which runs from May 14-25, reveals its lineup tomorrow. The jury will be chaired by Alejandro González Inárritu. Jim Jarmusch’s The Dead Don’t Die will open the Competition.