The French poet, writer, artist, and filmmaker Jean Maurice Eugene Clement Cocteau was born to a wealthy family on July 5, 1889, in a small town near Paris, France. Cocteau's father committed suicide when he was about ten years old. In 1900, he entered a private school and was expelled in 1904. After his expulsion from school, Cocteau ran away to Marseilles where he lived in the "red light district" under a false name. Police discovered him in Marseilles and returned him to his uncle's care.
His later life was filled with passion, art, ballet and - some would argue - excess. He loved well, lived well and was a prolific set designer, publisher, film-maker, playwright, and artist. He was very active in the written and spoken art fields, and counted artistic greats like Picasso amongst his closest friends. The artist died of a heart attack at age 74 at his chateau in Milly-la-Foret, France on October 11, 1963, after hearing the news of the death of another friend, the singer Edith Piaf.