Maurice Chevalier Poster


Jump to: Overview (5)  | Mini Bio (2)  | Family (3)  | Trade Mark (5)  | Trivia (21)  | Personal Quotes (10)

Overview (5)

Born in Paris, France
Died in Paris, France  (cardiac arrest)
Birth NameMaurice Auguste Chevalier
Nickname Mo
Height 5' 10" (1.78 m)

Mini Bio (2)

Maurice Chevalier's first working job was as an acrobat, until a serious accident ended that career. He turned his talents to singing and acting, and made several short films in France. During World War I he enlisted in the French army. He was wounded in battle, captured and placed in a POW camp by the Germans. During his captivity he learned English from fellow prisoners. After the war he returned to the film business, and when "talkies" came into existence, Chevalier traveled to the US to break into Hollywood. In 1929 he was paired with operatic singer/actress Jeanette MacDonald to make The Love Parade (1929). Although Chevalier was attracted to the beautiful MacDonald and made several passes at her, she rejected him firmly, as she had designs on actor Gene Raymond, who she eventually married. He did not take rejection lightly, being a somewhat vain man who considered himself quite a catch, and derided MacDonald as a "prude". She, in turn, called him "the quickest derrière pincher in Hollywood". They made three more pictures together, the most successful being Love Me Tonight (1932). In the late 1930s he returned to Europe, making several films in France and England. World War II interrupted his career and he was dogged by accusations of collaboration with the Nazi authorities occupying France, but he was later vindicated. In the 1950s he returned to Hollywood, older and gray-headed. He made Gigi (1958), from which he took his signature songs, "Thank Heaven for Little Girls" and "I Remember it Well". He also received a special Oscar that year. In the 1960s he made a few more films, and in 1970 he sang the title song for Walt Disney's The Aristocats (1970). This marked his last contribution to the film industry.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: A. Nonymous

His heavy French accent, melodic voice and Gallic charm made Maurice Chevalier the prototype of the gallant French monsieur in the American cinema of the 1930s. Before he went to Hollywood he worked as a farmer, circus acrobat, cabaret singer and, starting in 1908, a comical actor in French films, a few times even with the celebrated Max Linder. Chevalier fought as an infantryman in the French army during World War I and was taken prisoner by the Germans in 1914, spending two years in a POW camp. After the war he returned to the entertainment field, and eventually tried his luck in Hollywood. He made his first American movie in 1929, The Love Parade (1929). The film was a success, and Chevalier made more successful films with directors like Ernst Lubitsch (The Merry Widow (1934)). He retired from films in 1967, his last few roles being mainly friendly patriarchs.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Volker Boehm

Family (3)

Spouse Yvonne Vallée (10 October 1927 - 28 April 1933)  (divorced)
Children None
Parents Joséphine van den Bosch

Trade Mark (5)

Straw boater hat and cane
Theme Song: "Louise"
Heavy French accent
Valentine was his trademark song

Trivia (21)

Born at 2:0am-LMT
Chevalier was an infantryman in the French army during World War I and was captured by German troops in 1914. He spent two years in the Alten Grabow POW camp.
In 1951, the U.S. State Department declared Chevalier "potentially dangerous" to the security of the United States because he had signed a petition against nuclear weapons called the Stockholm Appeal.
In his youth, he was a sparring partner to heavyweight boxing champion Georges Carpentier.
Introduced his theme song, "Louise" (music by Richard A. Whiting, lyrics by Leo Robin), in his first U.S. film, Innocents of Paris (1929).
On his death the "Times" of London wrote: "Paris has lost another piece of its history and of its legend".
Interviewed in "The Great Comedians Talk About Comedy" by Larry Wilde. [1968]
As the star of radio's long-running "Chase and Sanborn Hour", he earned $5000 weekly, a record for radio performers up to that time.
In 1944, after Paris was liberated by the Allies, Chevalier was arrested by French authorities on charges of collaborating with the Nazis during the occupation and put on trial. He was acquitted, but feelings ran high against him among the French public and government, and it was several years before he was granted a visa to leave the country.
Director Rouben Mamoulian consented to write the foreword for "Chevalier: The Films and Career of Maurice Chevalier.".
From 1941 to 1945, he sang the songs composed by Henri Betti as "Notre Espoir" (1941), "La Chanson du Maçon" (1941), "La Polka des Barbus" (1942) and "La Fête à Neu-Neu" (1943).
When Lubitsch told him he was going act as the prince in The Love Parade, he said he would never be able carry conviction except as someone from a humble background. Lubitsch had to talk him into it.
Great granduncle of Alexis Chevalier.
Starred in five Oscar Best Picture nominees: The Love Parade (1929), The Smiling Lieutenant (1931), One Hour with You (1932), Gigi (1958) and Fanny (1961). Gigi is the only winner.
When 11 made his debut as a dancer and at 17 joined the Follies Berger.
An entertainer from age 11 he was 17 when nightclub queen Mistinguette invited him to join her act leading him to become the rage of Paris, London and Hollywood.
He appeared in two films that have been selected for the U.S. National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant: Love Me Tonight (1932) and Gigi (1958).
Companion of Nita Raya from 1935 to 1945.
On August 24, 2021, he was honored with a day of his filmography during the Turner Classic Movies Summer Under the Stars.
He was the son of Victor Charles Chevalier, a house painter, and Joséphine (Van Den Bossche) Chevalier, a lacemaker. His father was of French and Belgian Walloon descent. His mother was from a Belgian Flemish family, from Ghent.
In 1941, he adapted the poem "Apaisement" by Paul Géraldy into a song with music by Henri Betti and with the title "On Veut tant s'Aimer".

Personal Quotes (10)

Love the public the way you love your mother.
An artist carries on throughout his life a mysterious, uninterrupted conversation with his public.
[on why he preferred personal appearances to films] The cinema is rather like a beautiful woman whom you would court only by telephone.
Old age isn't so bad when you consider the alternative.
[on Jeanette MacDonald] I later heard her referred to as the "Iron Butterfly", although I was surprised to hear that she found that amusing. I never thought she had much of a sense of humor. When we worked together she always objected to anyone telling a risqué story.
Many a man has fallen love with a girl in a light so dim he would not have chosen a suit by it.
[on Clara Bow] Clara Bow, with her tousled mane of red hair and intense black eyes, who generated sex appeal and excitement with breathtaking ease.
[on Grace Kelly] Grace Kelly was a Dresden doll, I thought, with a kind of platinum beneath the delicate porcelain, a beautiful girl who I felt was always in control of her world.
[In response to a contract offer from Irving Thalberg if he would consent to a screen test] Either people are interested in hiring me or they're not. I don't audition any more.
I am too old for women, too old for that extra glass of wine, too old for sports. All I have left is the audience, but I have found it quite enough.

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