Olivier Martinez comes from a working-class family, raised in the Paris suburbs. He left school at an early age, holding various pick-up jobs such as salesman for jeans. Friends urged him to try acting, and at age 23 he enrolled in the International Conservatory of Paris. After several television shows, he reached the international market with The Horseman on the Roof (1995), billed in his American promotional tour for that movie as "the French Brad Pitt".
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