(Paris) Alain Delon confides that he wanted “to be the best, the most beautiful, the strongest” for the women in his life, in the preface to a book dedicated to him, to be published on May 5 by Éditions de La Martinière and consulted in preview Monday by AFP.

Illustrated with personal photos never before published, Alain Delon, Amours et Mémoires reviews the childhood and career of the legend of French cinema, film by film.

“Love has always led me to surpass myself,” writes Delon in this panegyric book by Denitza Bantcheva, a close collaborator of the actor who has collected unpublished testimonies.

“I never dreamed of being an actor. I got into the business and I continued to play by women and for women,” says Delon, 87, citing actresses Brigitte Auber, Michèle Cordoue, Romy Schneider, Nathalie Delon and Mireille Darc, as well as mother of his last two children, Rosalie van Breemen.

“If there’s one thing I’m proud of, it’s my career” which “would not have existed without the meetings with the great filmmakers who trained and sublimated me”, believes the one who was directed in particular by René Clément, Luchino Visconti, Jean-Pierre Melville and Joseph Losey.

Jean-François Delon, brother of the actor and assistant director on Borsalino or The Widow Couderc, recounts their childhood and delivers memories of filming.

Costa-Gravas, for whom Delon is “the beast of French cinema, irreplaceable and inimitable”, Sofia Loren, Claudia Cardinale, Jane Birkin and Nathalie Baye also testify.

Delon, whose personal positions have sparked controversy, dedicates this book in particular “to young people and moviegoers of the future”.

He also reveals a posthumous letter addressed to Romy Schneider.

He also assures “that nothing has ever happened, as surprising as it may seem” between Brigitte Bardot and him: “for 65 years, we have had the best friendly relations there are”. In a handwritten testimony, Bardot describes him as “a dominator, hiding his vulnerability by taking refuge in solitude”.

“If I have to die tomorrow, concludes the actor, God make it be of love, and paraphrasing Musset, I would like people to say of me: ‘He often suffered, he was sometimes wrong, but he liked it. It is he who lived and not a factitious being created by his pride and his boredom.