Actor and singer Patrick Bruel was one of France's biggest stars during the '90s, first making his name as a teen idol and leading a return to traditional French chanson in the new millennium. Bruel was born Patrick Benguigui in Tlemcen, Algeria, on May 14, 1959. His father abandoned the family when Patrick was only a year old, and in 1962, after Algeria won its independence, his mother moved to France, settling in the Paris suburb of Argenteuil. A fine soccer player in his youth, Patrick first settled on the idea of being a singer after seeing Michel Sardou perform in 1975. As luck would have it, acting would bring him his first success; first-time director Alexandre Arcady ran an ad seeking a young man with a French-Algerian (or "pied-noir" in French slang) accent for his film Le Coup de Sirocco. Benguigui (as he was still called) responded and won the part. The following year, he spent some time in New York City, where he met Gérard Presgurvic, later to become his primary songwriter.