Hundreds attend Marcel Marceau funeral

26th September 2007, Comments 0 comments

26 September 2007, PARIS (AFP) - Hundreds of well-wishers paid a final tribute on Wednesday to Marcel Marceau, the world-famous mime artist, who was buried in Paris.

26 September 2007

PARIS (AFP) - Hundreds of well-wishers paid a final tribute on Wednesday to Marcel Marceau, the world-famous mime artist, who was buried in Paris.

Marceau, who was credited with single-handedly resurrecting the art form of mime after World War II, died in the southern town of Cahors on Saturday at the age of 84.

The former chief rabbi of France, Rene-Samuel Sirat, led the ceremony reading out prayers in French and Hebrew.

Marceau, whose real name was Marcel Mangel, conquered audiences worldwide with his creation in 1947 of Bip, a sad, white-faced clown in a striped pullover and a battered silk opera hat.

The clown's brown hat with its wilting red flower was propped to one side of his coffin at the Pere Lachaise cemetery, where some 300 people turned out for the funeral.

Born into a Jewish family in Strasbourg, Marceau fled with his family to the central town of Limoges at the start of World War II. His father was deported and killed, and he himself joined the Resistance.

A fan of the silent films of Charlie Chaplin, Marceau launched his solo career after the war with the melancholy figure of Bip, creating such classic mime figures as "The Cage" and "Walking against the Wind".

He became a huge success on US television shows -- Michael Jackson acknowledged Marceau's influence on his famous moon-walk -- and achieved near iconic status in Japan.

Marceau went on to create his own mime company, the International Mime School in Paris. Despite his advancing years, he continued to perform until 2005, with a tour of Cuba, Colombia, Chile and Brazil.

AFP

Subject: French news

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