French actor, director, writer, artist, sculptor, stunt performer.
His real name is Jean Alfred Villain-Marais, but since he is “bad” in French, he removed it from his name.
Born on December 11, 1913 in Cherbourg (France), in the family of a veterinarian, but barely remembered his father: his parents divorced when he was five years old, and the further upbringing of Jean and his older brother fell on the shoulders of his mother, grandmother and aunt. Jean was born from childhood, he remained faithful to his childhood dreams and affections for life. He was an emotional, sensitive and very receptive child. At the age of four, when he first got into the cinema, little Jean dreams of becoming an actor.
Fate generously endowed Mare. He was called a man with a thousand talents. He was an excellent actor, stuntman, artist, decorator, designer, potter, sculptor, writer. And this is far from a complete list … Nature endowed him with a beautiful appearance, great physical strength, noble soul, purposefulness. He was dreamy and faithful, modest and self-critical, trusting and naive. They wrote about him: “The soul of a child lost in the body of an athlete.” Mare did not deny: “After all, I am an actor, and the actors remain children until they are old.” The life of Jean Marais was long and very fruitful: he acted in films, played in the theater, painted, sculpted and even sang. He was interested in everything new, unknown. In his declining years, he became interested in sculpture, in the future he was going to work with stone. He wanted to make a lot of things in life, achieve a lot, and therefore no matter what business he undertook, everything worked out: Jean Mare loved life and knew how to enjoy it, no matter what happened around him. People surrounding the actor certainly fell under his charm. He radiated calm and goodwill, personifying for many the image of a happy person. And indeed, to the unchanging question: “Are you happy?” – always gave a positive answer. Jean Marais considered himself an undeservedly gifted fate and even felt guilty about others because of this. He never complained about the vicissitudes of fate, silently and with dignity accepting and experiencing everything that life gave or took from him. Until the last years of his life, Mare played in the theater and acted in films. When asked if he would like to change anything in his life, he answered that he would like to live everything that he lived.
1939 year. War. Jean Mare becomes the driver of a fuel truck and even receives a Military Cross for courage and courage. He believes so much in his extraordinary fortune that once, despising danger, he takes risks and drives a truck through a minefield. When bombing, it remains to sit in the car with the engine turned on, does not bow to the bullets. Mare himself does not see anything heroic in his behavior. On the contrary, it seemed to him obvious, normal. His memories of those days are a string of anecdotal situations. He will say later: “I did not run from heroism, but heroism stubbornly fled from me.”
He was married to actress Mila Pareli (1942-1944).
The long-awaited fame comes to Jean Mare in 1943 after the film “Eternal Return”, where he starred with his dog – Muluk, selected in the war and made him a loyal and beloved friend. Mare becomes a star; fans and admirers pester him. As a child, he dreamed of being an idol of the audience. “The sky heard my prayers and heeded them,” Mare said with a smile. “It’s a pity that I didn’t think of asking God to make me a great actor. Maybe I would be him.” Unhappy with his naturally high voice, he begins to smoke to lower his timbre. The voice acquires a characteristic hoarseness and a unique personality. Mare is too critical of herself, no star disease. His naturalness and simplicity surprise him, his great charm, soulfulness, humanity. He never seemed handsome to himself, never was a man with claims, even during his triumph. “Always accessible to others, he accepted, without protesting, all members of the press, except for” fools “, did not make himself an important person like other famous actors. Jean Marais was true in relation to himself and to others. But he could to be cruel when you should intercede for any of his friends, could not stand it when they contradicted him, ”said his biographer Karol Weisweiler.
Over the years, the roads of Mare and Cocteau diverge, but this does not mean cooling relations that from close ones become friendly, kindred. Mare spreads her wings. Having taken such a great start thanks to Jean Cocteau, he is looking for his own path. Mare is handsome, strong, very plastic, and his energy would be enough for five. He still does not know what kind of life marathon he will have, but he is ready, he feels that he is capable of much. Mare was one of the few actors who almost always performed their own stunts in films.