Depardieu was born in Châteauroux, a small provincial community in central France, on December 27, 1948. His taciturn father, René "Dédé" Depardieu, was a sheet metal worker; his mother, Alice "Lilette" Marillier, came to Châteauroux with her family as refugees during World War II. The couple married in 1944 and had two children - one son and one daughter - before the birth of Gerard. The family lived in cramped quarters and Depardieu's father was not an active parent, so much of the stresses of caring for three small children fell to his mother. Depardieu, who would eventually have five siblings, became the family's charming prankster, earning the nickname of Pétarou, or "Little Firecracker."