Jean Renoir

The son of French Impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Jean Renoir was born September 15, 1894, in Paris and grew up in the south of France. After serving in World War I, Renoir began directing films in 1924 to advance the career of his actress wife, Catherine Hessling.

With the advent of talkies, Renoir made a trio of films that would be considered among the finest to come out of pre-World War II France: La Chienne (remade by Fritz Lang as Scarlet Street), The Lower Depths (1936) and Grand Illusion (1937).

Escaping to the States after the fall of France, Renoir went to work for 20th Century Fox, making his American debut with the lyric rural drama Swamp Water (1941). He returned to rural America for The Southerner, a drama about Texas sharecroppers that earned him a Best Director Oscar nod. Other notable films include Diary of a Chambermaid, Woman on the Beach and The River.