Marcel Marceau (Mangel) (1923 - 2007) MP

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Birthplace: Strasbourg, Alsace, France
Death: Died in Cahors, Midi-Pyrénées, France
Cause of death: Heart attack
Occupation: internationally acclaimed French actor and mime
Managed by: Malka Mysels
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Marcel Marceau (Mangel)

Marcel Marceau (22 March 1923 – 22 September 2007) was an internationally acclaimed French actor and mime most famous for his persona as Bip the Clown. He performed all over the world in order to spread the "art of silence" (L'art du silence).

Marcel Marceau was one of the world's most renowned mimes. His art became familiar to millions through his many television appearances. His first television performance as a star performer on the Max Liebman Show of Shows won him an Emmy Award. He appeared on the BBC as Scrooge in A Christmas Carol in 1973. He was a favorite guest of Johnny Carson, Merv Griffin, Mike Douglas and Dinah Shore, and he also had his own one-man show entitled "Meet Marcel Marceau". He teamed with Red Skelton in three concerts of pantomimes.

He was born Marcel Mangel in Strasbourg, France to a Jewish family. His parents were Ann Werzberg and Charles Mangel, a kosher butcher. When Marcel was four years old, the family moved to Lille, but they later returned to Strasbourg.

When France entered World War II, Marcel, 16, fled with his family to Limoges. In 1944 Marcel's father was captured and deported to the notorious Auschwitz concentration camp, where he was killed. Marcel's mother survived.

Marcel and his older brother, Alain, adopted the last name "Marceau" during the German occupation of France; the name was chosen as a reference to François Séverin Marceau-Desgraviers, a general of the French Revolution.

The two brothers joined the French Resistance in Limoges, where they saved numerous children from the race laws and concentration camps, and, after the liberation of Paris, joined the French army.

Owing to Marcel's excellent command of the English language, he worked as a liaison officer with General George Patton's army. Marcel started miming as a way of keeping children quiet as they were escaping to neutral Switzerland.

Marceau was demobilized in 1946. He enrolled as a student in Charles Dullin's School of Dramatic Art in the Sarah Bernhardt Theatre in Paris, where he studied with teachers like Joshua Smith and the great master, Étienne Decroux, who had also taught Jean-Louis Barrault.

Marceau was married three times: first to Huguette Mallet, with whom he had two sons, Michel and Baptiste; then, to Ella Jaroszewicz, with whom he had no children. His third wife was Anne Sicco, with whom he had two daughters, Camille and Aurélia.

Awards and Honors

Marceau was made a commander of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, an Officer of the Légion d'honneur, and in 1978 he received the Médaille Vermeil de la Ville de Paris.

The City of Paris awarded him a grant which enabled him to reopen his International School which offered a three-year curriculum.

In November 1998, President Jacques Chirac made Marceau a grand officer of the Ordre national du Mérite.

Marceau was an elected member of the Academy of Fine Arts Berlin, the Academy of Fine Arts Munich, the Académie des Beaux-Arts of the Institut de France.

Marceau held honorary doctorates from Ohio State University, Linfield College, Princeton University and the University of Michigan.

In April 2001, Marceau was awarded the Wallenberg Medal by the University of Michigan in recognition of his humanitarianism and acts of courage aiding Jews and other refugees during World War II.

Marceau accepted the honor and responsibilities of serving as Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Second World Assembly on Aging, which took place in Madrid, Spain, in April 2002.

Published works

  • ▪ Preface to the French high wire artist Philippe Petit's 1985 book, On The High Wire. ISBN 039471573X
  • ▪ Foreword to Stefan Niedziałkowski's and Jonathan Winslow's 1993 book, Beyond the Word—the World of Mime. ISBN 1879094231
  • Bibliography
  • ▪ Martin, Ben. Marcel Marceau: Master of Mime, Paddington Press (UK) Limited, 1978. ISBN 0-448-22680-4
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Marcel Marceau's Timeline

1923
March 22, 1923
Strasbourg, Alsace, France
2007
September 22, 2007
Age 84
Cahors, Midi-Pyrénées, France
September 26, 2007
Age 84
Cimetière du Père Lachaise, Paris, Île-de-France, France
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