Francois-Eric was born on the 15th March 1954, on the outskirts of Paris, in the beautiful town of Fontainebleau.
His childhood was rich in culture and music as his father was the world famous cellist and conductor, Maurice Gendron. He would accompany his father all over the world when he was performing and it exposed him to a world of artists as well as many cultures igniting a love for travel and languages. Summers were spent in Gstaad where his father would play at the classical music festival with some of the most renowned and acclaimed classical artists of the time, such Yehudi Menuhin, Benjamin Britten.
Francois-Eric grew up around these masters and he learnt about passion and discipline. His admiration for them inspired him to follow his dream and pursue a career that he would love.
He knew from a young age that he wanted to be an actor and several life changing experiences helped confirm this. His father Maurice was a magnificent storyteller, and he would spend afternoons with his great friend Peter Ustinov, Arthur Rubinstein and together they would entertain small audiences who would be delighted and enraptured by their artistic skills and talent. This is where Francois-Eric first decided to become an actor.
At fourteen, he organized with a group of young friends, (one being the famous playwright Yasmina Reza, who wrote “Art “), a” cabaret des amateurs”, where part of the audience was no other than Curt Jurgens, Richard Burton and Elisabeth Taylor, who without him knowing at the time, would cross their paths again a few years later. He loved the sensation of being on stage and the being able to captivate a public and distract them for a few hours playing a different role and character.
In his teens, he devoured motion pictures. La nouvelle vague. It became his favourite pastime and his hero and idol was the famous actor and artist Jean Gabin. Once again fate would intervene as a few years later he met him on a horse race track, on a Sunday, in Normandy.
That was another “rencontre “confirming his burning desire to become an actor.
In his late teens he excelled in sports, especially horse-riding and completed his French baccalaureat. His parents encouraged him to pursue his acting career and he was admitted to the most famous theatre school the renowned Conservatoire National de Theatre de Paris, where he spent the next four years learning the skills and developing his acting talent. His classmates were some of today’s most famous French actors and he developed wonderful lifelong friendships with them as well as some of his teachers such as Marcel Bluwal and Antoine Vitez.
His debut on stage, was still during his studies, at the yearly famous Festival d’Avignon, in Moliere’s Femmes Savantes and Scenes de Chasse en Bavière. This auspicious role brought him luck, as he was able to meet the right people at the right place, and his career was launched.
In 1977, after completing and excelling from the Conservatoire, Francois was soon on the silver screen, playing in France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Great Britain, and the USA. His versatility and ability to speak over 5 languages allowed him to develop and gain experience in a variety of Motion pictures and mini-series.
His international roles and films enriched his talent but also allowed him to meet many interesting fellow actors and directors and professional « rencontres ». Luck would have it that Elisabeth Taylor proposed him to co-star in a short film directed by John Frankenheimer, edited later to promote her new fragrance, « Fragrant Jewels ». He greatly appreciated how professional she was on the set and it left a life long impression of the importance in remaining humble and modest as an actor, as she was always so kind and respectful with everyone in the production.
His first english speaking role film was in « Wagner », which was a successful mini-series, produced by the BBC with no other than Richard Burton, who was starring as Wagner. This again was another incredible experience for a young and upcoming actor.
And so, Francois’s journey had begun where he was immersed in a world of talent and inspiration.
At that time, many famous directors were emerging, some of his favourites being Claude Sautet, Alain Resnais, Jacques Rivette and Eric Rohmer. A few of the actors he admired were Marcello Mastroianni, Yves Montand, Michel Piccoli, at the time all in their forties and who he could aspire to.
After 10 years starring as the lead in France’s most popular mini series, “Avocats et Associés” followed by the Proc, Francois-Eric’s career has evolved more to the stage, his first love, where he has worked with the brilliant generation of French directors.
It has been a long and wonderful journey as today his roles have been diverse and many. With over twenty-five motion pictures, many mini series and hundred and fifty episodes of “Avocats et associés” and theatre productions all which have brought him exceptional experiences with directors such as Alain Resnais, Rohmer, Chabrol, Jean-Marie Poiré, Tacchella…
After 40 years in the business Francois-Eric’s dream came true and he learnt that most important thing is…. the story, a good story, a great script and director…these are the real ingredients for an actor to be filled with passion and desire to perform and please an audience.
Francois-Eric will soon appear on stage at the Theatre de Paris in January 2016, with one of France’s most famous and cherished actors, Daniel Auteuil, directed by him, on a Florian Zeller play, the “cheri” of playwrights and accompanied by Valerie Bonneton and Pauline Lefèvre, a comedy not to be missed…
And the show goes on….