Jean-Louis Barrault was a French actor, director and mime artist, training that served him well when he portrayed the 19th-century mime Jean-Gaspard Deburau in Marcel Carné's film Les Enfants du Paradis and part of an international cast in The Longest Day.
Jean-Louis Barrault studied with Charles Dullin in whose troupe he acted from 1933 to 1935. At 25 years of age, he met and studied with the mime Étienne Decroux. From 1940 to 1946 Barrault was a member of the Comédie-Française, where he directed productions of Paul Claudel's Le Soulier de satin and Jean Racine's Phèdre, two plays that made his reputation.
Over his career, he acted in nearly 50 movies including Les beaux jours, Jenny, L'Or dans la Montagne and Sous les Yeux d'occident.
In 1940, he married the actress Madeleine Renaud. They founded a number of theatres together and toured extensively, including in South America.
He was the uncle of actress Marie-Christine Barrault and sometime sponsor of Peter Brook. He died from a heart attack in Paris at the age of 83. Jean-Louis Barrault is buried with his wife Madeleine Renaud in the Passy Cemetery in Paris.