Marcel Marceau used his expressive face and hands to bring the art of mime to the masses. He was born a French Jew, escaping the fate of Auschwitz where his father died.
He alone revived the art of mine and performed around the world until late into his life. He remained vibrant and agile to the end. President Nicolas Sarkozy of France said "France has lost one its most eminent ambassadors."
He is best known for his everyman character Bip, the white-faced, floppy hat and ill fitting pants were inspired by Charlie Chaplin and Charles Dickens. He was the inspiration for Michael Jackson's "moonwalk" taken from his piece "Walking Against the Wind."
He was born Marcel Mangel, but changed his last name to Marceau to hide his Jewish origins from the occupying Germans in WWII. He worked with the French Resistance and saved the lives of many children during the war.
After Paris was liberated, he studied under the great mime Etienne Decroux. Shortly after, the character of Bip was born and his career blossomed like the floppy rose on his Suess-like hat. His magic entranced the United States in the '50's and helped launch him into international stardom.
He continued to tour until only a few years ago, when his health declined. He appeared in films as well, the most famous was Mel Brooks' "Silent Movie": He had the only speaking line, "Non!" (see our video section for a clip of that famous moment).
An avid talker, he once said: "Do not the most moving moments of our lives find us without words?"
Have a story or thought about this great mime? Speak volumes and leave a memory, or upload your pictures and videos.
Share this TributeLet them know how much you cared