Jean Martin was a French actor of stage and screen. Martin served in the French Resistance during World War II and later fought with the French paratroopers in Indochina. Theatrically, he is perhaps best known for originating two roles in Samuel Beckett's most famous plays: Lucky in Waiting for Godot, and Clov in Endgame. During the 1950s, he was a performer at the Théâtre National Populaire and also worked for radio plays.
Making over eighty film and television appearances, Martin is best remembered by international audiences for his role as the French paratroop commander Col. Mathieu in The Battle of Algiers, as well as villainous roles in My Name is Nobody and The Day of the Jackal. He was one of the protagonists in Les Compagnons de Baal.
Most of his other screen work was in French or European cinema, and his stage performances have gained him much more recognition and acclaim than his film work. Martin was also an active political leftist, and was fired from the Théâtre National Populaire for signing the manifesto of the 121 against the Algerian War. He was also blacklisted from radio work and remained unemployed for a time as a result.