Marion Cotillard is a French actress, singer-songwriter, and activist. She is perhaps best known for her role as the iconic French singer Édith Piaf in the critically acclaimed film, La Vie En Rose, for which she won an Academy Award, BAFTA Award, César Award, Lumières Award and a Golden Globe. A regular name on a blockbuster credit list, she has had major roles in widely recognized films, including The Dark Night Rises, Inception and Contagion. Highly versatile, she has appeared in everything from Woody Allen movies (Midnight In Paris) to animated features (The Little Prince), working with an ever-growing list of famous directors. She has written and performed several original songs as a musician and is also a Greenpeace spokesperson, in addition to being the face of the high-end fashion house, Dior.

In 2014, Cotillard was crowned, “The Most Bankable French Actress of the 21st Century.”


Cotillard was born on September 30, 1975 in the Parisian suburb of Alfortville to Niseema Theillaud and Jean-Claude Cotillard. Born into a performing arts family, her father was a mime, actor, teacher and former Molière Award-winning theatre director (i.e. a Molière is the French equivalent to an American Tony Award), while her mother was also an actress and drama teacher. Later growing up in Orléans, Cotillard frequently appeared in her father’s stage work. An expressive household where the children were allowed to draw on the walls of their 18th-floor Paris apartment, she was also an older sister, to twins Guillaume and Quentin (Guillaume later became a screenwriter and director; Quentin, a sculptor). Despite the creativity and openness around her, Cotillard revealed herself as being to be withdrawn and pensive as a child, in an interview with the Guardian. “I couldn’t identify with anyone. At school, I was considered very strange. I didn’t understand the relationships between people,” she said. She soon became obsessed with creating stories and mimicking the the great stars of the screen.

Cotillard’s father began teaching at the Conservatoire d’Art Dramatique d’Orléans. First catching the acting bug from him, she soon enrolled in the same institution to study acting. Upon graduation, she moved back to Paris and booked minor television roles, including uncredited appearances on the Canadian fantasy series Highlander (which was filmed in Europe) at just eighteen years old. Her brief appearances on the show would be her earliest English-speaking roles.

Marion Cotillard Bio: FRENCH MOVIE STAR

Cotillard quickly progressed to film in the 1990s, appearing in the films, L’Histoire du garçon qui voulait qu’on l’embrasse, Arnaud Desplechin’s My Sex Life… or How I Got Into an Argument and La Belle Verte. These minor appearances eventually led to her first leading role in the television film Chloé, playing a runaway teen forced into prostitution. Further roles followed, leading to a breakout performance playing twins of two separate characters in Gilles Paquet-Brenner’s film Pretty Things (Les Jolies Choses). Her performance earned her a César nomination for Most Promising Actress.

While Cotillard’s name is now affiliated with drama, particularly in the United States, her early career—and cause of her rising French popularity—was her appearance in several French comedies and blockbusters, she revealed to Slant Magazine. “I did three French blockbusters, which allowed me to connect with the audience, but not the industry,” she said. “For the industry, those movies were not considered very serious movies, and I wasn’t considered a very serious actress.”


Cotillard had her first big break in the United States playing a supporting role in Tim Burton‘s 2003 film, Big Fish, alongside notable actors like Helena Bonham Carter, Ewan McGregor and Jessica Lange. However, she was not fully immersed in Hollywood and continued performing in French comedies and dramas. Cotillard would go on to win her first César Award, for Best Supporting Actress, after her performance in Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s A Very Long Engagement (Un Long Dimanche de Fiançailles).

Her next English-language performance would be in director Ridley Scott’s comedy, A Good Year, alongside Russell Crowe.


Cotillard’s emergence as a well-known actress in the United States—and globally—came from her turn as the troubled and ill-fated French singer, Édith Piaf, in La Vie en Rose. Director Olivier Dahan reportedly sought Cotillard for the role because of a similarity between her and the late singer’s eyes. Cotillard rehearsed for three months to turn herself into the cancer-stricken, drug-addicted Piaf. What’s more, she revealed to the Independent that the role was hard to shake after the cameras stopped rolling.”…Nine months. It was terrible. And I’m ashamed to say it, but that’s what happened,” she confessed. “I couldn’t let her go because her biggest fear when she was alive – of course, we don’t have fear when we’re dead – was to be alone.”

Cotillard’s performance earned her numerous awards and made the history books. Her Golden Globe win for best actress was the first for a foreign language performance since 1972; her BAFTA Award was first given to a French actress for a leading role since 1973, and her eventual Oscar win for Best Actress was the first—and so far only—win for a French language performance. It also makes her the first person to win an Oscar for a performance in a non-English language film since Sophia Loren in 1961. English theatre, film, and television director Trevor Nunn have said her portrayal of Piaf was, “One of the greatest performances on film ever.”


Following La Vie En Rose, Cotillard was now in the American and international spotlight, and this lead to prominent roles in larger films, even blockbuster franchises. She appeared alongside Johnny Depp and Christian Bale in the 2009 film Public Enemies. She would continue working with Bale for the final film in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight franchise, and also appeared in Nolan’s Inception, as Leonardo DiCaprio’s love interest.

A musician, Cotillard also had a role in the Rob Marshall musical film Nine. Further diversifying her credits, she also appeared in Woody Allen’s time-jumping comedy, Midnight in Paris.

Her move towards bigger films did not limit her involvement in drama. Cotillard received widespread critical acclaim once again for her portrayal of double amputee whale trainer Stéphanie in the French-Belgian film Rust and Bone. She received her fifth César nomination for her performance, including nominations for a Golden Globe and Screen Actor’s Guild Award. Despite her success, Cotillard had yet to have a leading role in an American movie until James Gray‘s The Immigrant in 2013.


In 2015, Cotillard appeared as Lady Macbeth in the new film adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, alongside Michael Fassbender.

She also voiced The Rose in the animated adaptation of The Little Prince, and April in the French-Canadian-Belgian animated movie April and The Extraordinary World.

In 2016, Cotillard played the lead role in WWII romance From The Land Of The Moon and It’s Only The End Of The World, which premiered at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.

She worked with Michael Fassbender again in the 2016 Assasin’s Creed movie. She was also been pulled into the Brangelina divorce drama, as she appeared alongside Brad Pitt in the WWII film, Allied that same year. She issued a rare public statement denying any involvement and wishing the former couple well.

More recently, Cotillard starred alongside Adam Driver in the 2021 musical drama Annette. She also returned to her roots and starred in the French live-action comedy film Asterix & Obelix: The Middle Kingdom in 2023.


A singer-songwriter, guitarist, bass player, keyboardist, and tambourine player, Cotillard has co-written and performed songs for many of the films and even ad campaigns in which she has appeared. She recently went of the tour with French band Yodélice, playing guitar under the Pseudonym “Simone,” and wearing a male disguise.

She dated French actor Julien Rassam in the late 90s, Stéphan Guérin-Tillié from 2000-2005, and French singer Sinclair from 2005-2007. She is currently in a relationship, since 2007, with French actor and director Guillaume Canet, whom she met on the set of Love Me If You Dare in 2003. They had their son, Marcel, in 2011 and their daughter, Louise, in 2017.

Cotillard is currently a spokesperson for Greenpeace and is heavily involved with environmental activism, traveling to the Congo in 2010 to visit tropical rainforests threatened by logging. Her respect for others and the places she visits has expanded into other philanthropic interests, putting her name behind UNICEF France, 1 Heart 1 Tree, and Kate Winslet’s book “The Golden Hat: Talking Back To Autism”, to name a few of her causes.

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