Simon Abkarian

Simon Abkarian Biography

Simon Abkarian

Simon Abkarian, an actor of Armenian descent, was born on March 5, 1962 in Gonesse, Val d’Oise. Although he was born in France, Abkarian spent most of his childhood in Lebanon before moving to Los Angeles, where he joined an Armenian theater company managed by Gerald Papazian.

Simon Abkarian’s passion for acting led him back to France in 1985, where he settled in Paris and took classes at the Acting International school. He then joined Ariane Mnouchkine’s Théâtre du Soleil, where he played several notable roles, including in L’Histoire terrible mais inachevée de Norodom Sihanouk, roi du Cambodge and in the House of Atreus four-play cycle by Aeschylus.

In 1993, Simon Abkarian left Théâtre du Soleil to pursue his career in cinema. He was first offered roles by French filmmaker Cédric Klapisch, who cast him in several of his movies. Abkarian’s breakthrough performance came in 2001, when he starred in Beast on the Moon by Richard Kalinoski, directed by Irina Brook, a play about the life of a survivor of the Armenian genocide. His performance won him critical acclaim and the Molière Award for Best Actor.


Simon Abkarian continued to play a variety of roles in different genres and mediums, including in Sally Potter’s Yes, where he played the lead role, and in the BBC drama Spooks (MI-5), where he portrayed Dariush Bakhshi, the Iranian Special Consul. He was also featured as Sahak in the thriller Les Mauvais Joueurs and probably his biggest role was the villainous Alex Dimitrios in the 2006 James Bond film, Casino Royale.

In addition to his acting career, Simon Abkarian has also lent his voice to the French version of the animated feature Persepolis and played the role of the Armenian poet Missak Manouchian in The Army of Crime by Robert Guédiguian.

Overall, Simon Abkarian has appeared in over 50 films and television shows throughout his career, including Colt 45, The Swallows of Kabul, and Rebelles.