Famous Playwrights from France

List of notable or famous playwrights from France, with bios and photos, including the top playwrights born in France and even some popular playwrights who immigrated to France. If you're trying to find out the names of famous French playwrights then this list is the perfect resource for you. These playwrights are among the most prominent in their field, and information about each well-known playwright from France is included when available.

The list you're viewing has a variety of people, like Jean Genet and Jean-Paul Sartre, in it.

This historic playwrights from France list can help answer the questions "Who are some French playwrights of note?" and "Who are the most famous playwrights from France?" These prominent playwrights of France may or may not be currently alive, but what they all have in common is that they're all respected French playwrights.

Use this list of renowned French playwrights to discover some new playwrights that you aren't familiar with. Don't forget to share this list by clicking one of the social media icons at the top or bottom of the page. {#nodes}
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  • Alain-René Lesage
    Dec. at 79 (1668-1747)
    • Birthplace: Sarzeau, France
    Alain-René Lesage (French pronunciation: ​[alɛ̃ ʁəne ləsaʒ]; 6 May 1668 – 17 November 1747; older spelling Le Sage) was a French novelist and playwright. Lesage is best known for his comic novel The Devil upon Two Sticks (1707, Le Diable boiteux), his comedy Turcaret (1709), and his picaresque novel Gil Blas (1715–1735).
    • Birthplace: Tocopilla, Chile
    Alejandro Jodorowsky Prullansky (Spanish: [xoðoˈɾofski]; born 17 February 1929) is a Chilean-French filmmaker. Since 1948, Jodorowsky has worked as a novelist, screenwriter, a poet, a playwright, an essayist, a film and theater director and producer, an actor, a film editor, a comics writer, a musician and composer, a philosopher, a puppeteer, a mime, a psychologist and psychoanalyst, a draughtsman, a painter, a sculptor and a spiritual guru. Best known for his avant-garde films, he has been "venerated by cult cinema enthusiasts" for his work which "is filled with violently surreal images and a hybrid blend of mysticism and religious provocation".
  • Alexandre Bisson
    Dec. at 63 (1848-1912)
    • Birthplace: Briouze, France
    Alexandre Bisson (9 April 1848 – 27 January 1912) was a French playwright, vaudeville creator, and novelist. Born in Briouze, Orne in Lower Normandy, he was successful in his native France as well as in the United States. Remembered as a significant creator of Parisian vaudeville, in collaboration with Edmond Gondinet, Bisson's 1881 three-act comedy Un Voyage d'agrément was performed at the Théâtre du Vaudeville in Paris. Of his works, Bisson is best remembered for his play Madame X, which was performed in 1910 both in Paris and on Broadway with Sarah Bernhardt in the leading role. Over the years, the play would be revived for Broadway three times and nine Madame X motion pictures in several languages have been filmed. The first silent screen adaptation was in 1916 and the latest in 2000. Better-known versions include a 1929 sound film starring Ruth Chatterton and directed by Lionel Barrymore plus the 1966 film starring Lana Turner. In 2006, a musical based on the original play was produced in Chicago. Bisson also adapted the 1910 best-selling Florence Barclay novel, The Rosary as a three-act play for the Paris stage. Widely acclaimed in the United States, Alexandre Bisson was invited to write about the theatre by The Saturday Evening Post and his articles "The Dilemmas of the Theater" and "How the World Contributes to the American Stage" were published in 1912. Alexandre Bisson died in Paris in 1912 at the age of 63.
  • Alexandre Dumas
    Dec. at 68 (1802-1870)
    • Birthplace: Villers-Cotterêts, France
    Alexandre Dumas (UK: , US: ; French: [alɛksɑ̃dʁ dyma]; born Dumas Davy de la Pailleterie [dyma davi də la pajətʁi]; 24 July 1802 – 5 December 1870), also known as Alexandre Dumas père (French for 'father'), was a French writer. His works have been translated into many languages, and he is one of the most widely read French authors. Many of his historical novels of high adventure were originally published as serials, including The Count of Monte Cristo, The Three Musketeers, Twenty Years After, and The Vicomte of Bragelonne: Ten Years Later. His novels have been adapted since the early twentieth century for nearly 200 films. Dumas' last novel, The Knight of Sainte-Hermine, unfinished at his death, was completed by scholar Claude Schopp and published in 2005. It was published in English in 2008 as The Last Cavalier. Prolific in several genres, Dumas began his career by writing plays, which were successfully produced from the first. He also wrote numerous magazine articles and travel books; his published works totalled 100,000 pages. In the 1840s, Dumas founded the Théâtre Historique in Paris. His father, General Thomas-Alexandre Dumas Davy de la Pailleterie, was born in the French colony of Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti) to Alexandre Antoine Davy de la Pailleterie, a French nobleman, and Marie-Cessette Dumas, a black slave. At age 14 Thomas-Alexandre was taken by his father to France, where he was educated in a military academy and entered the military for what became an illustrious career. Dumas' father's aristocratic rank helped young Alexandre acquire work with Louis-Philippe, Duke of Orléans, then as a writer, finding early success. Decades later, after the election of Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte in 1851, Dumas fell from favour and left France for Belgium, where he stayed for several years, then moved to Russia for a few years before going to Italy. In 1861, he founded and published the newspaper L'Indépendent, which supported Italian unification, before returning to Paris in 1864. Though married, in the tradition of Frenchmen of higher social class, Dumas had numerous affairs (allegedly as many as forty). In his lifetime, he was known to have at least four illegitimate children, although twentieth-century scholars found that Dumas fathered three other children out of wedlock. He acknowledged and assisted his son, Alexandre Dumas, to become a successful novelist and playwright. They are known as Alexandre Dumas père ('father') and Alexandre Dumas fils ('son'). Among his affairs, in 1866, Dumas had one with Adah Isaacs Menken, an American actress then less than half his age and at the height of her career. The English playwright Watts Phillips, who knew Dumas in his later life, described him as "the most generous, large-hearted being in the world. He also was the most delightfully amusing and egotistical creature on the face of the earth. His tongue was like a windmill – once set in motion, you never knew when he would stop, especially if the theme was himself."
  • Alfred de Vigny
    Dec. at 66 (1797-1863)
    • Birthplace: Loches, France
    Alfred Victor, Comte de Vigny (27 March 1797 – 17 September 1863) was a French poet and early leader of French Romanticism. He also produced novels, plays, and translations of Shakespeare.
  • Alphonse Daudet
    Dec. at 57 (1840-1897)
    • Birthplace: Nîmes, France
    Alphonse Daudet (French: [dodɛ]; 13 May 1840 – 16 December 1897) was a French novelist. He was the husband of Julia Daudet (Mastani) and father of Edmée Daudet, and writers Léon Daudet and Lucien Daudet.