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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 December, 2003, 09:55 GMT
Chirac honours French actor Reno
Jean Reno
Reno is known for his tough-guy roles
French actor Jean Reno has been awarded the National Order of Merit by President Jacques Chirac.

The star of Leon, Nikita and The Big Blue received France's second highest civilian honour on Monday.

"He is one of those very great actors who is connected by an invisible thread, a complicity, a friendship, to the public," President Chirac said.

Arab French director Yamina Benguigui received the top-level Legion d'Honneur during the Paris ceremony.

In France, Reno is popular for his deft mix of action and humour in films such as The Visitors, Wasabi and, most recently, Ruby and Quentin.

He is also well known for tough-guy roles in Hollywood films such as Mission: Impossible and the 1998 remake of Godzilla.

Reno, 55, was born in Morocco to Spanish parents before moving to Paris at the age of 17 and becoming a French citizen.

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