Marcel Marceau Died in Paris at the Age of 84
“Do not the most moving moments of our lives find us without words?“
Mime Artist Marcel Marceau (1923-2007)
Photography by: Yousuf Karsh
International Mime Legend Marcel Marceau Died in Paris at 84
Marcel Marceau, who escaped deportation to a Nazi death camp and went on to become an international mime legend, has died in Paris at the age of 84. Marceau was born Marcel Mangel to Jewish parents in Strasbourg, France. He changed his name to Marceau to hide his Jewish origins when the Nazis marched into eastern France and he fled with family members. His father was sent to Auschwitz in 1944 and did not survive.
Marceau joined Charles de Gaulle’s Free French Forces and, due to his excellent English, worked as a liaison officer with General Patton’s army. Until the liberation of Paris, Marceau and his brother Alain worked in the French Resistance, hiding Jewish children from the Gestapo and the French police, who helped the Nazis round up Jews for deportation.
As a mime, Marceau was best known for his onstage persona “Bip,” a sad and chalk-faced clown who wore a stovepipe hat adorned with a red flower. “Bip” the clown, in his striped pullover and battered, beflowered silk opera hat, signified the fragility of life and became Marceau’s alter-ego, just as Charlie Chaplin’s “Little Tramp” became that star’s major personality. Bip’s misadventures with everything from butterflies to lions, on ships and trains, in dance-halls or restaurants, were limitless. Among his many other characters were a peevish waiter, a lion tamer and an old woman knitting. His inspiration was Charlie Chaplin, and Marceau would later inspire countless performers, notably Michael Jackson, who borrowed the “moonwalk” from Marcel’s “Walking Against the Wind” sketch.
Marcel Marceau’s “Bip” the Clown
Marcel Marceau: A Documentary
A Tribute to Mime Artist Marcel Marceau
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