Actor turned local Francois Benard holding book reading, signing

Published: Thursday, March 21, 2013 at 04:53 PM.

Actor, screenplay writer and poet Francois-Marie Benard will read from his newest book of poetry Sunday afternoon at Tops'l community room above the pro shop.

"The Thread of Love" is a book of love poems and Benard will entertain his guests by reading for about an hour before signing copies of it and his first book of poetry, "The Dream of Life," which he published in January 2012.

Bénard, who now calls Santa Rosa Beach home, was born in Madagascar in the Indian Ocean, where his French Royalist family had self-exiled two centuries ago to escape the French Revolution.

"My father was instrumental in giving Madagascar independence," he said.

He lived in the jungle there, he said, for 20 years, before leaving to study acting and directing in Paris under the No. 1 acting coach.

While trying to reach his goal of becoming an actor, Benard worked varied jobs, including as the artistic director for Club Med, a financial advisor at Rothschild Bank, and as a reporter for L'Express Magazine.

He also studied in Rome and learned photography and mostly made a living as a photographer during that time.

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