Biography

The eldest son of the late French oceanographer Jacques Cousteau and his wife Simone, Jean-Michel Cousteau initially forked off on his own career path well outside the realm of undersea exploration, but became heir apparent and successor to his famous dad inadvertently, when younger brother Philippe died in a seaplane crash in the late '70s. Jean-Michel then collaborated with Jacques for around 17 years -- helping to reorganize the Cousteau Society, producing educational films, touring on the lecture circuit, and -- significantly -- involving himself in his dad's eponymous Cousteau documentaries, first as an onscreen participant and then (by the early '90s) as a producer. After Jacques died in 1997, Jean-Michel founded the nonprofit Jean-Michel Cousteau Institute, designed to work in tandem with other environmentalist organizations to solve problems adversely impacting the world's oceans, rivers, lakes, and inland waterways. The younger Cousteau also participated in number of environmentalist documentaries produced outside of his organization; these included Coral Reef Adventure (2003), Sharks 3D (2004), and Dolphins and Whales 3D: Tribes of the Ocean (2008). ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi