Vincent Cassel was born Vincent Crochon in Paris, France, on November 23, 1966. Born into an acting legacy -- his father was famous French actor Jean-Pierre Cassel, and the half-brother of actress Cécile Cassel [1982- ] Vincent initially hesitated pursuing a career in film and television. Instead, he was seduced by the glitz and glamour of circus school, which he entered at the age of 17. After dibbling in carnival studies for several years, Cassel made his acting debut in the 1991 French film "Les Cls du Paradis" (The Keys of Paradise). Though the role provided little press for the actor, Cassel hit the fast track to international stardom after joining forces with writer/actor/director Mathieu Kassovitz in 1993. The pair's first film, "Mtisse", an urban romantic comedy, featured Cassel as a Jewish boxer and the older sibling of Kassovitz. Quickly after "Mtisse", the two began working on a film that would garner Cassel notoriety, international awards and the title of hottest young actor in France. "Hate" (1995) told the story of three ghetto youths from different cultural backgrounds -- African, Arab and Jewish (Cassel) -- wandering the streets and suburbs of Paris. The film picked up several Caesars, the French equivalent of the Oscars, as well as the Best Director award at the Cannes Film Festival. Vincent has been married to actress Monica Bellucci [1964- ] since 1999. Cassell has become one of France’s biggest stars and has gone on to appear in one Euro-western "Blueberry" (aka "Renegade" U.S.A.) and a small part in the 1994 French, Canadian co-production of TV’s "Blood of the Hunter". Today we celebrate Vincent Cassell’s 45th birthday.
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