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French-American actor and model, Gilles Marini, finished second place on the eighth season of dance-competition show Dancing with the Stars.
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Gilles Marini was born on January 26, 1976 in Grasse, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France. He moved to the United States after high school to learn English and pursue modeling. His success as a model led him to a career in film and television. Marini appeared in Sex and the City: The Movie. He is well-known for his television role on Brothers and Sisters, and for his success on reality dance-competition show Dancing with the Stars.
"I cried about becoming an American. It's inexplicable the love I have for this country. I'm on cloud nine and I can't get down."
Gilles Marini was born January 26, 1976 in Grasse, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France to a Greek mother and an Italian father. His father owned a bakery, where Marini worked from the age of 8 through his high school graduation. He then joined the French army, and left home for Paris, where he served as a fireman in the Paris Fire Brigade. There, Marini met Fred Goudon, a famous French photographer, who introduced him to the world of male modeling. After completing his military service, Marini moved to the United States to pursue modeling full time.
The young model found early success when he landed a part on a Bud Light beer television commercial. Other jobs quickly followed, including spots on national campaigns for Coca-Cola, Chrysler, GNC, Infiniti and Perry Ellis. In 2005, Marini earned his first acting job in the low-budget and little-seen horror film Screech of the Decapitated.
Three years into his acting career, Marini landed a small but life-changing role in Sex and the City: The Movie, for which he received international attention for his steamy shower scene. The actor, however, has found more success on the small screen: In 2009, he appeared on the ABC television show Brothers and Sisters, playing Luc Laurent, the love interest of Rachel Griffith's character, Sarah Walker. Marini's character on Brothers and Sisters became so popular with viewers that his contract was extended and later rewritten, making him a full-time cast member.
In 2012, Marini landed a spot on the ABC Family drama Switched at Birth. He has also appeared on such prime-time TV shows as Criminal Minds, Ugly Betty, Castle, Nip/Tuck, Modern Family and Hot in Cleveland.
In recent years, Marini's commercial success on the small screen has extended beyond scripted TV, into reality TV: He competed on the eighth season of the reality dance-competition show Dancing with the Stars in May 2009, earning second place with dance partner Cheryl Burke (he lost to Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson and her partner, Mark Ballas). Extremely popular among fans of the show, Marini was invited back to compete on season 15 of the series, Dancing with the Stars: All Stars (2012), alongside dance partner Peta Murgatroyd.
Marini became a United States citizen on June 27, 2012, at a swearing-in ceremony in Los Angeles. He later described the emotional event to People magazine: "I cried about becoming an American," he said.
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The famous dance-competition show Dancing with the Stars has seen more than a dozen seasons and a gamut of stars, including Apolo Anton Ohno, Kirstie Alley, Joey Fatone, Jennifer Grey, David Hasselhoff, Buzz Aldrin, Brandy, Wynonna Judd, Dorothy Hamill, D.L. Hughley and Aly Raisman. Learn more about the show's contestants, who, for a period, swapped their skills as athletes, actors, musicians, comedians, TV personalities and politicians for a chance to show off their footwork on national TV.
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