With his hilarious take on everything from pop culture to politics, Jamel Debbouze established a renowned comedic career in his native France. Born on June 18, 1975 to Moroccan immigrants, Debbouze was raised in a one-room flat in Paris along with 15 siblings. At age 15, he lost use of his right arm after a train hit him while he was playing near a railroad track. Debbouze entered show business by performing stand-up comedy at local cafes and theaters, before going on to work as a radio host. He parlayed his success on the radio into a television career, appearing on the comedy series "H" (Canal +, 1998-2001) and the talk show "Tout le monde en parle" (1998-2006). He made his film debut in "Two Dads and One Mom" (1996), but it was the hit romantic comedy "Amélie" (2001) that gave the actor his first taste of international recognition. Debbouze played the bullied grocer's assistant Lucien opposite Audrey Tautou. He further made his mark in French cinema by playing a hapless architect in "Asterix and Obelix Meet Cleopatra" (2002) and its 2008 sequel. He landed his first U.S. film role in 2004 with a bit part in Spike Lee's "She Hate Me." Debbouze often showcased his dramatic side, including playing a small-time crook in Luc Besson's "Angel-A" (2005) and a war hero in "Days of Glory" (2006). In 2012, he returned to his comedic roots in the adventure film "HOUBA! On the Trail of the Marsupilami."
By Candy Cuenco