Gabriel-Maximilien Leuvielle (16 December 1883 – 1 November 1925), known professionally as Max Linder (French: [maks l?~.d??]), was a French actor, director, screenwriter, producer and comedian of the silent film era.
His onscreen persona "Max" was one of the first recognizable recurring characters in film.
He has also been cited as the "first international movie star" and "the first film star anywhere".Born in Cavernes, France to Catholic parents, Linder grew up with a passion for the theatre and enrolled in the Conservatoire Bordeaux in 1899.
He soon received awards for his performances and continued to pursue a career in the legitimate theatre.
He became a contract player with the Bordeaux Théâtre des Arts from 1901 to 1904, performing in plays by Molière, Pierre Corneille and Alfred de Musset.
From the summer of 1905, Linder appeared in short comedy films for Pathé, at first usually in supporting roles.
His first major film role was in the Georges Méliès-like fantasy film The Legend of Punching.
During the following years, Linder made several hundred short films portraying "Max", a wealthy and dapper man-about-town frequently in hot water because of his penchant for beautiful women and the good life.
Starting with The Skater's Debut in 1907, the character became one of the first identifiable motion-picture characters who appeared in successive situation comedies.
By 1911, Linder was co-directing his own films (with René LePrince) as well as writing the scripts.
Linder enlisted at the outbreak of the First World War, and worked at first as a dispatch driver and entertainer.
During his service, he was injured several times, and the experiences reportedly had a devastating effect on him both physically and mentally.
It was during this time he suffered his first outbreak of chronic depression.