Daniel Duval had a difficult childhood. In care from an early age, it was not easy for him to be well-balanced. As a teen, he was made to learn a trade. While an apprentice-joiner, he became ill and found himself in hospital: that is where he found his real vocation. He shared his room with the producer of the religious program "Le Jour du Seigneur" and, after talking with him, realized that his future was not in making tables or shutters but in directing shows or movies. He learnt this new trade with more enthusiasm than the former one and soon became a TV director, a movie director and an actor, the latter activity finally becoming his main one. With a gaunt figure and an emaciated bony face, he was predisposed to dark characters, sometimes romantic and self-destructive but always violent. He tended to replicate these character features in real life, which caused him trouble and hurt his career, even leading him to jail in 1987. Fortunately, he was released for lack of evidence and resumed his acting career. He made a brilliant comeback in 1996 with two particularly aggressive and pathetic figures: the father in Y'aura t'il de la neige à Noël? (1996) and the sadistic lover in Si je t'aime, prends garde à toi (1998). Among the women who shared his life are Haydée Politoff and Anna Karina. He has a son, Cyril Duval, who is an assistant-director.