Charles Aznavour Poster


Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Family (4)  | Trivia (25)  | Personal Quotes (4)

Overview (4)

Born in Paris, France
Died in Mouriès, Bouches-du-Rhône, France  (undisclosed)
Birth NameShahnour Vaghinag Aznavourian
Height 5' 3" (1.6 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Beloved French chanson entertainer Charles Aznavour, who wrote more than 800 songs, recorded more than 1,000 of them in French, English, Italian, German and Spanish and sold over 100 million records in all, was born Shahnour Vaghinag Aznavourian on May 22, 1924, in Paris, the younger of two children born to Armenian immigrants who fled to France. His mother was a seamstress as well as an actress and his father was a baritone who sang in restaurants. Both Charles and his elder sister waited on tables and he performed, as well. He delivered his first poetic recital while just a toddler. Within a few years later he had developed such a passion for singing/dancing, that he sold newspapers to earn money for lessons.

He took his first theatrical bow in the play "Emil and the Detectives" at age 9 and within a few years was working as a movie extra. He eventually quit school and toured France and Belgium as a boy singer/dancer with a traveling theatrical troupe while living the bohemian lifestyle. A popular performer at the Paris' Club de la Chanson, it was there that he was introduced in 1941 to the songwriter Pierre Roche. Together they developed names for themselves as a singing/writing cabaret and concert duo ("Roche and Aznamour"). A Parisian favorite, they became developed successful tours outside of France, including Canada. In the post WWII years Charles began appearing in films again, one of them as a singing croupier in Goodbye Darling (1946).

Eventually Aznavour earned a sturdy reputation composing street-styled songs for other established musicians and singers, notably Édith Piaf, for whom he wrote the French version of the American hit "Jezebel". Heavily encouraged by her, he toured with her as both an opening act and lighting man. He lived with Piaf out of need for a time not as one of her many paramours. His mentor eventually persuaded him to perform solo (without Roche) and he made several successful tours while scoring breakaway hits with the somber chanson songs "Sur ma vie" and "Parce que" and the notable and controversial "Après l'amour." In 1950, he gave the bittersweet song "Je Hais Les Dimanches" ["I Hate Sundays"] to chanteuse Juliette Gréco, which became a huge hit for her.

In the late 50s, Aznavour began to infiltrate films with more relish. Short and stubby in stature and excessively brash and brooding in nature, he was hardly leading man material but embraced his shortcomings nevertheless. Unwilling to let these faults deter him, he made a strong impressions with the comedy Une gosse 'sensass' (1957) and with Paris Music Hall (1957). He was also deeply affecting as the benevolent but despondent and ill-fated mental patient Heurtevent in Head Against the Wall (1959). A year later, Aznavour starred as piano player Charlie Kohler/Edouard Saroyan in Francois Truffaut's adaptation of the David Goodis' novel Shoot the Piano Player (1960) [Shoot the Piano Player], which earned box-office kudos both in France and the United States. This sudden notoriety sparked an extensive tour abroad in the 1960s. Dubbed the "Frank Sinatra of France" and singing in many languages (French, English, Italian, Spanish, German, Russian, Armenian, Portuguese), his touring would include sold-out performances at Carnegie Hall (1964) and London's Albert Hall (1967).

Aznavour served as actor and composer/music arranger for many films, including Gosse de Paris (1961), which he also co-wrote with director Marcel Martin, and the dramas Three Fables of Love (1962) [Three Fables of Love") and Dear Caroline (1968) [Dear Caroline]. The actor also embraced the title role in the TV series "Les Fables de la Fontaine" (1964), then starred in the popular musical "Monsieur Carnaval" (1965), in which he performed his hit song "La bohême".

His continental star continued to shine and Aznavour acted in films outside of France with more dubious results. While the satirical Candy (1968), with an international cast that included Marlon Brando, Richard Burton and Ringo Starr, and epic adventure The Adventurers (1970) were considered huge misfires upon release, it still showed Aznavour off as a world-wide attraction. While he was also seen in The Games (1970) (1970), The Blockhouse (1973) (1973) and an umpteenth film version of Agatha Christie's Ten Little Indians (1974), it was his music that kept him in the international limelight. Later films included Yiddish Connection (1986), which he co-wrote and provided music; Il maestro (1990) with Malcolm McDowell; the Canadian-French production Ararat (2002) for which he received special kudos; cameos as himself in The Truth About Charlie (2002) and Emmenez-moi (2005); and his final feature film, The Colonel (2006)

Films aside, his chart-busting single "She" (1972-1974) went platinum in Great Britain. He also received thirty-seven gold albums in all. His most popular song in America, "Yesterday When I Was Young" has had renditions covered by everyone from Shirley Bassey to Julio Iglesias. In 1997, Aznavour received an honorary César Award. He has written three books, the memoirs "Aznavour By Aznavour" (1972), the song lyrics collection "Des mots à l'affiche" (1991) and a second memoir "Le temps des avants" (2003). A "Farewell Tour" was instigated in 2006 at age 82. He died

Married at least three times (some claim five) to Micheline Rugel, Evelyne Plessis and Ulla Thorsell, he fathered six children (daughters Katia, Patricia and Seda Aznavour, and sons Misha, Nicholas, and Patrick Aznavour). He died on October 1, 2018, in France.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Family (4)

Spouse Ulla Thorsell (11 January 1967 - 1 October 2018)  (his death)  (3 children)
Evelyne Plessis (28 October 1955 - 9 June 1960)  (divorced)  (1 child)
Micheline Rugel (16 March 1946 - 27 March 1952)  (divorced)  (2 children)
Children Mischa Aznavour
Katia Aznavour
Nicolas Aznavour
Patricia Aznavour
Parents Aznavourian, Michael
Baghdasarian, Knar
Relatives Aïda Aznavour (sibling)
Mike Connors (cousin)

Trivia (25)

French singer/actor, a.k.a. Charles Aznavurian.
He is an Armenian-French singer-composer born in Paris but very popular among the French culture especially in Quebec.
Worked with François Truffaut who petitioned for the release of Sergei Parajanov from the Soviet prisons; Aznavour also worked with Atom Egoyan, whose 2nd favourite film is Sergei Parajanov's The Color of Pomegranates (1969) while Mikhail Vartanov, the best friend of Sergei Parajanov, regards The Color of Pomegranates (1969) as his most favourite picture and Charles Aznavour as his most favourite singer.
Member of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 1986.
Partly inspired the character Char Aznable from the 1979 anime Mobile Suit Gundam (1979) (English name "Mobile Suit Gundam").
Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1996.
In 2006, 82-year old Aznavour traveled to Cuba, where he, together with Chucho Valdes, recorded his new album "Color Ma Vie,"presented at Aznavour's Moscow concert in April 2007.
At the start of autumn in 2006, Aznavour initiated his farewell tour, performing in the US and Canada, and earning very positive reviews. For 2007, Aznavour has concerts scheduled all over Japan and Asia. The second half of 2007 sees Aznavour returning to Paris for over 20 shows at the Palais des Congrès in Paris. He has repeatedly stated that this farewell tour, health permitting, will likely last beyond 2010.
At age 75 years old, he continued to act in movies, writes songs and record. One album was entitled "Jazznavour," which featured new versions of his old classics recorded with a group of American jazz musicians.
Known for his "faits de societe" songs which dramatizes social issues. He has written songs about everything from AIDS and traffic accidents to divorce and weight problems.
At the age of 9, he heard boulevardier's Maurice Chevalier's "Donnez Moi La Main Mamz'elle Et Ne Dites Rien" and found his calling as a chansonnier.
Of Armenian descent, the performer founded the relief organization "Aznavour for Armenia" following the 1988 earthquake in his homeland.
In 1998, Aznavour was chosen "Entertainer of the Century" by CNN and users of Time Online from around the globe. Aznavour was recognized as the century's outstanding performer, with nearly 18% of the total vote, edging out Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan and Frank Sinatra.
Through the beauty and magic of video technology, Aznavour performs with a ghostly Édith Piaf, a la Nat King Cole and daughter Natalie, the song "Plus bleu que tes yeux.".
On July 5th, 2008 was invested as an honorary officer of the Order of Canada. The honorary status is a special designation reserved for non-Canadians.
He became Armenia's ambassador to Switzerland, where he resides. He was granted Armenian citizenship in December 2008. [February 2009]
On April 25th, 2009 received l'Ordre National du Québec. It's the highest Honor bestowed by the Government of Quebec.
Played a character named Ed Saroyan in two unrelated movies: "Shoot the Piano Player" and "Ararat". However, the character in the first one is named Edouard (French spelling) and the character in the second one is named Edward (English spelling).
In Yerevan, Armenia, the Charles Anznavour square was named after him.
He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Live Theatre at 6225 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on August 24, 2017.
Mentioned in the 1980 song "Sister Europe" by The Psychedelic Furs.
He was awarded the 2012 Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee Medal from the Canadian Governor General in Paris, France.
He was awarded the O.C. (Honorary Officer of the Order of Canada) on April 10, 2008 and invested on July 5, 2008 from the Canadian Governor General in Paris, France. Singer, songwriter and actor, he was one of France's most popular musical icons. For the past 60 years, he has been singing about our love stories and everyday lives in many languages. Versatile and passionate, this enduring legend has charmed audiences around the world; but first and foremost, he remains an ambassador of the French language. Since first coming to Montréal, he has remained deeply attached to Canada, where he has drawn admirers from coast to coast to coast. Dedicated to humanitarian causes, he shares his artistic talents in support of charitable organizations in Armenia, where he was appointed UNESCO's Permanent Ambassador.
He formed a successful vocal duet with Pierre Roche from 1942 to 1949.
In 1964, he recorded the French song "Toi et tes Yeux d'Enfant" with the music of Jeff Davis but the original music was composed by Henri Betti in 1960.

Personal Quotes (4)

Live now. Tomorrow, who knows?
The public and the critics ... sensed my passionate devotion to my profession. My love of the chanson towered above my other loves.
My shortcomings are my voice, my height, my gestures, my lack of culture and education, my frankness and my lack of personality. -- CA, in 1950
My voice? I cannot change it. The teachers I consulted all agreed I shouldn't sing, but nevertheless I continued to sing until my throat was sore.

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