Marcel Marceau was the legendary mime, who survived the Nazi occupation, and saved many children in WWII. He was regarded for his peerless style pantomime, moving audiences without uttering a single word, and was known to the World as a "master of silence."
He was born Marcel Mangel on March 22, 1923, in Strasbourg, Alsace, France, and was brought up in Strasbourg and Lille. There he was introduced to music and theatre by his father, Charles Mangel, a kosher butcher, who also sang baritone and was a supporter of arts and music. His mother, Anne Mangel (née Werzberg), was a native Alsatian, and the family was bilingual. At the age of 5, his mother took Marcel to a Charlie Chaplin's movie, and he was entranced and decided to become a mime. Young Marcel was also fond of art and literature, he studied English in addition to his French and German, and became trilingual.
At the beginning of the Second World War, he had to hide his Jewish origin and changed his name to Marceau, when his Jewish family was forced to flee their home. His father was deported to Auschwitz, where he was killed in 1944. Both Marceau and his brother, Alain, were in the French underground, helping children to escape to safety in neutral Switzerland. Then Marceau served as interpreter for the Free French Forces under General Charles de Gaulle, acting as liaison officer with the allied armies.
Marcel Marceau gave his first big public performance to 3000 troops after liberation of Paris in August of 1944. After the war, in 1946, he enrolled as a student in Charles Dullin's School of Dramatic Art at the Sarah Bernhardt Theatre in Paris. There his teacher was Etienne Decroux, whose other apprentice Jean-Louis Barrault hired Marcel Marceau, and cast him in the role as Arlequin. His biggest inspirations were Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and Marx Brothers. In 1947, blending the 19th century harlequin with the gestures of Chaplin and Keaton, Marceau created his most famous mime character, Bip, a white-faced clown with a tall, battered hat and a red flower. In 1949 he created his own company and toured around the world.
Marcel Marceau shone in a range of characters, from an innocent child, to a peevish waiter, to a lion tamer, to an old woman, and became acknowledged as one of the world's finest mimes. In just a couple of minutes, he could show a metamorphosis of an entire human life from birth to death. Through his alter ego, Bim, he played out the human comedy without uttering a word. His classic silent works such as The Cage, Walking Against the Wind, The Mask Maker, In The Park, and satires on artists, sculptors, matadors, has been described as works of genius. For many years Marceau's 'Compagnie de Mime Marcel Marceau', also known as 'Compagnie de Mimodrame', was the only company of pantomime in the world. Marceau played several silent film roles and only one with a speaking part, as himself, speaking the single word "Non" in Mel Brooks' Silent Movie (1976).
In 1959, Marcel Marceau established his own school in Paris, and later the Marceau Foundation to promote the art of pantomime in the United States. His latest performances in 2000-2001 received great acclaim. He was made "Officer de la Legion d'Honneur" (1978) and "Grand Officer de la Legion d'Honneur" (1998), and was awarded the National Order of Merit (1998). He won the Emmy Award for his work on television, and was elected member of the Academy of Fine Arts in Berlin, the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, the Academie des beaux-arts France and the Institut de France, and was declared "National treasure" in Japan. In 2002 he was UN Goodwill Ambassador at the international conference on aging in Madrid.
His "art of silence" filled a remarkable acting career that lasted over 60 years. He was an actor, director, teacher, interpreter, and public figure, and made extensive tours in countries on five continents. Outside of his mime profession, Marcel Marceau was a multilingual speaker and a great communicator, who surprised many with his flowing speeches in several languages. In his later years he was living on a farm at Cahors, near Toulouse, France. He continued his routine practice daily to keep himself in good form, never losing the agility that made him famous. He also continued coaching his numerous students.
Marcel Marceau passed away at his home in France, on September 23, 2007, like an Autumn leaf after the Autumn Equinox, and after Yom Kippur in Jewish calendar, having the Day of Atonement as his final curtain. His burial ceremony was accompanied by the Mozart's piano concerto No21, and the music of J.C. Bach. Marcel Marceau was laid to rest in the Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris, France.
He brought poetry to silence.
|Anne Sicco||(1975 - 22 September 2007) (his death) 2 children|
|Ella Jaroszewicz||(16 June 1966 - ?) (divorced)|
|Huguette Mallette||(? - 1958) (divorced) 2 children|
Performs mime in whiteface as his character "Bip"
Born at 8:00am-UT
One of the world's finest mime artists.
Spoke in an interview for the documentary Charlie: The Life and Art of Charles Chaplin (2003).
His father, Charles, perished in Auschwitz in 1944.
Notably talkative off-stage.
Likened his character, Bip, to a modern-day Don Quixote.
In the early 1950s, he was virtually unknown in his native France (which has a strong mime tradition). Laurel & Hardy were doing a world tour and, while they were playing Paris, someone tipped them off that Marceau was doing incredible mime in an insignificant suburban theatre. They went to see him and, a few days later, instead of doing the second half of their regular show after the interval, Stan introduced Marceau and, more or less, scolded the audience for ignoring such a talent... and then Laurel & Hardy walked offstage and gave the second half of their show to Marceau.
Interred in Père Lachaisse Cemetery in Paris (2007).
His "Walking Against the Wind" routine inspired Michael Jackson's moonwalk.
New York City declared 18 March the Marcel Marceau Day (1999).
Held honorary doctorates from Ohio State University, Linfield College, Princenton University and Michigian University.
Born to Charles Mangel, a kosher butcher, and his wife Anne Werzberg, he grew up in Strasbourg until World War II.
Marcel Marceau's costumes and belongings have sold for a staggering $700,000 at an auction in Paris, France, almost double the amount anticipated. The auction sale included Marceau's famous top hat, sailor suit, paintings and art objects. Part of the money raised will pay off Marcel's debts left after his death. Many of the objects were acquired by the National Library and the ministry's own heritage fund, where they will be put on display in the National Library.
Great-grandfather of Vanessa Marcil.
Among those kids was maybe an Einstein, a Mozart, somebody who (would have) found a cancer drug. That is why we have a great responsibility. Let us love one another. - on the children killed in Auschwitz.
If you stop at all when you are 70 or 80, you cannot go on. You have to keep working. - 2003 Associated Press interview.
I have a feeling that I did for mime what (Andres) Segovia did for the guitar, what (Pablo) Casals did for the cello. - Associated Press interview.
Yes, I cried for him. - on his father's death in Auschwitz
The people who came back from the [concentration] camps were never able to talk about it. My name is Mangel. I am Jewish. Perhaps that, unconsciously, contributed towards my choice of silence. - on a reason for his interest in the wordless art.
|You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.|
|With our Resume service you can add photos and build a complete resume to help you achieve the best possible presentation on the IMDb.|
Click here to add your resume and/or your photos to IMDb.