August 14, 1974
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Tomer Sisley was a bit of a liar. The multiethnic actor and humorist drew massive acclaim for a stand-up routine in which he joked his mother was Jewish and his father was Arabic. Though only half true - his parents were both Israeli - the joke's success brought his career to new heights. After debuting on the TV series "Highlander" (TF1, 1992-98) and in the romantic comedy "Alliance cherche doigt" (1997), Sisley won the 2003 Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal and established himself as one of France's top talents. His love of adrenaline-pumping sports (he participated in numerous horse-jumping competitions and was a licensed helicopter pilot) proved useful in "The Heir Apparent: Largo Winch" (2008), which featured the kind of action set pieces typically found in a James Bond film. After appearing in the 2011 sequel "The Burma Conspiracy," Sisley took on a darker role as a crooked cop in "Sleepless Night" (2011), and made his American debut with a small but memorable part in "We're the Millers" (2013). Tomer Sisley didn't look like anyone else, so he wasn't going to act like anyone else, either.Tomer Sisley's family background read like a school geography lesson. Born in Berlin to Israeli parents, he claimed Russian and Yemeni heritage from both sets of grandparents. After moving to France with his father when he was nine, Sisley learned yet another language to add to a roster that included Hebrew, German and English. Sisley attended Sophia Antipolis college in Nice, and later traveled to the U.S., where he began training with legendary acting coach Jack Waltzer. He made his TV debut in 1996 on "Highlander," based on the cult 1986 movie, and appeared in "Alliance cherche doigt" before landing a string of minor roles in the early 2000s. Frustrated with his career, Sisley morphed into a stand-up comedian and immediately hit upon a breakthrough joke about his warring, Jewish-Arab family. Widely credited as the first genuine stand-up comedian in France, Sisley's routine made him a household name and the eventual first-place winner at the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival. Sisley's plan to use his comedy career as a backdoor to an acting career worked. He portrayed a tax collector in "The Nativity Story" (2006), before landing a breakout role in "The Heir Apparent: Largo Winch." As Largo, a reluctant son forced to save his billionaire adoptive father's company, Sisley used his darkly handsome looks and thrill-seeking personality (he did many of his own stunts) to flesh out the beloved comic book character. Though the requisite sequel, 2011's "The Burma Conspiracy," didn't quite reach the heights of the original, its success led Sisley to the bleak crime thriller "Sleepless Night." Viewed by many as an action film, Sisley followed up the tale of a desperate, crooked cop with a turn as a vicious drug dealer in "We're The Millers."