Daniel Auteuil was born in Algeria in 1950, when his parents, both opera singers were on a tour there. He began his film career in 1972 and, over the next ten years, would appear in a number of French thrillers and comedies.
Auteuil achieved stardom for his portrayal of the disfigured and reclusive farmer Ugolin in Claude Berri's 1986 film, Jean de Florette, a film that was an international box office phenomenon. For this touching role, Auteuil won a Best Actor César. He would reprise the role in the film's sequel, Manon des sources, where he co-starred with Emmanuelle Béart. Auteuil and Béart would have a 10 year relationship and have a daughter in 1992.
Following Jean de Florette, Daniel Auteuil became almost overnight one of France's most popular and well-paid actors. He was as successful in lavish period dramas, such as La Reine Margot and Le Bossu, as he was in romantic dramas, including La Séparation and Un Coeur en hiver.
In many of his films, Auteuil is cast as the solitary outsider or the unlucky inexperienced romantic, scarred by emotional traumas but capable of displaying great passion and warmth. This is the kind of role which the actor excels in and his performances seldom, if ever, lack depth and conviction.