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Monday, September 24, 2007

Mime Silenced: Marcel Marceau Dies

Famed French mime Marcel Marceau died this weekend at the age of 84. Marceau was most famous for his white-faced be-hatted character Bip, and he entertained audiences all over the world starting in the 1950's. Marceau was also part of the French Resistance during World War II helping to hide Jewish children from the French police and German authorities. His father was sent to a concentration camp and was never seen again.

I had the great pleasure to see Marcel Marceau perform and to meet him backstage when I was a child, and his kindness and warmth left a lasting impression. Here is the obit from the International Herald Tribune. Below is one of Marceau's best known clips in America, from Mel Brook's 1976 film Silent Movie. In a typical Brook's gag which the voluble Marceau must have loved, the mime is the only one in the entire film who's voice is heard, just once.

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