|born on||22 March 1923 at 08:00 (= 08:00 AM )|
|Place||Strasbourg, France, 48n35, 7e45|
|Timezone||GMT h0e (is standard time)|
|Astrology data||00°41' 22°44 Asc. 04°21'|
French pantomime artist, actor, author, and creator of the internationally acclaimed white-faced clown "Bip," Marceau was awarded two Emmys, a Knighthood in the French Legion of Honor, Officer's rank in the National Order of Merit and comedy rank in the National Order of Arts and Letters of France. He is the founder of the Compagnie de Mime Marcel Marceau in 1947 and Director of Ecole de Mimodrame Marcel Marceau established in 1978.
One of the most recognized performers of the 20th century, Marceau, whose real name was Marcel Mangel, grew up in Lille. He was the second son of a butcher, Charles, and homemaker, Ann, who taught their sons to cherish the family's Jewish traditions along with their father's Socialist philosophy. From an early age, Marceau began to imitate everything around him. "When I was five years old my mother took me to see Charlie Chaplin's moving pictures... I sat entranced... It was then I decided to become a mime." As a member of a summer theater group, he longed to play the Tramp and spent long hours imitating Chaplin's walk. He soon began imitating birds, trees, plants, animals and eventually everyday people. Encouraged by his parents to pursue a career in theater, he enrolled in the Lycee Fustel de Coulanges in Alsace but was unable to complete his training due to the outbreak out of WW II. Seeking refuge in Limoges, he studied ceramics and at age 17 won the Masson prize for his work in enamel.
Tragedy struck when his father was seized by the Nazis and died in Auschwitz. Marceau, in his zeal to help his fellow Jews escape the horror of the Nazi regime, assisted his brother Alain, a leader in the Limoges underground, in falsifying identification documents so young men could avoid the German labor camps, citizens could get fake ration cards and Jewish children could be safely smuggled into Switzerland. When police raids became imminent, Marceau fled to Paris, where he was saved from further persecution by having a cousin place him in an orphanage. There Marceau taught dramatics and entertained the children with mime. In his spare time, he began studying with Charles Dullin in the Sarah Bernhardt Theater where he came under the tutelage of the master of mime, Etienne Decroux. "He was a kind of Christ.... In his class we dedicated our bodies to the discipline of silence." While practicing mime to his captive audience of orphans, Decroux became Marceau's most critical admirer, telling him "Marceau, you are a born mime."
In December 1944, Marceau joined the French Army and played in a military base theater stationed in Germany until 1946. Returning to Paris, he immediately began playing minor roles at the Sarah Bernhardt Theater and became a member of The Decroux Company, where he put on his first mimodrama "Praxitele and the Golden Fish," which won him enough praise to launch his career.
Setting up his own company in "The Pocket Theatre," 1947, he created the white-faced clown with the top hat (a la Chaplin) called Bip, a name he derived from Pip in Dickens' classic "Great Expectations." His first performance as Bip occurred on his 24th birthday in "Bip and the Street Girl" but pantomime did not draw large audiences. In 1949 Marceau took his company on tour to Israel and Holland and in 1951 to Berlin, but it was not until 1952 that the performance could sell 1,200 seats in the Sara Bernhardt Theater. In 1955 his U.S. and Canada tour, originally scheduled for two weeks, was so successful it was extended for three months. "When I got back to Paris after being a hit on Broadway in 1955, everything changed for me. It was a new, almost frightening experience."
An international talent by the late '50s, Marceau gave over 18,000 performances in over 100 countries. Extending his acting ability onto the screen, he appeared in the films "Barbarella" (1968), "Shanks," (1974), in which he played the leading role, "Silent Movie" (1976) and many others. By 1979, he had made his 17th tour of the U.S. and he wrote the novel "Pimparello" in 1987. After Marceaus' original mime company disbanded in 1964, he formed a new company in 1978 with a subsidy from the French government. While fluent in five languages offstage, onstage he perfected his silent, subtle art. "The art of mime is an art of metamorphosis. You cannot say in mime what you can say better in words. You have to make a choice. It is the art of the essential. And you cannot lie. You have to show the truth....Why am I popular? Because I brought silence to the stage, because I made the invisible visible. I create abstract worlds and make them complete."
Married three times, he had two sons with his first wife and two daughters with the third. Marceau worked on the international stage into his 80s. He died on September 22, 2007 in Paris at age 84.
- Social : Joined group 1947 (Founder, Compagnie de Mime Marcel Marceau)
- Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1947 (Production, "The Pocket Theatre")
- Social : Begin Travel 1949 (Tour to Israel and Holland)
- Social : Begin Travel 1951 (Tour to Berlin)
- Social : Begin Travel 1955 (Tour to U.S. and Canada)
- Social : Left group 1964 (Compagnie de Mime Marcel Marceau disbanded)
- Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1968 (Film, "Barbarella")
- Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1974 (Film, "Shanks")
- Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1976 (Film, "Silent Movie")
- Work : New Job 1978 (Director, Ecole de Mimodrame Marcel Marceau)
- Social : Begin Travel 1979 (17th tour of the U.S.)
- Work : Published/ Exhibited/ Released 1987 (Book, "Pimparello")
B.C. in hand from Steinbrecher
- Diagnoses : Body Part Problems : Surgery (Ulcer)
- Family : Childhood : Disadvantaged (Time in orphanage)
- Family : Childhood : Family supportive (Parents encouraging)
- Family : Childhood : Family traumatic event (Father seized by Nazis, killed)
- Family : Childhood : Order of birth (Second of two boys)
- Family : Childhood : Sibling circumstances (Brother leader in Nazi Resistance)
- Family : Relationship : Number of Marriages (Three)
- Family : Parenting : Kids more than 3 (Four)
- Lifestyle : Work : Travel for work (Performed in over 100 countries)
- Lifestyle : Work : Work alone/ Singular role (Mime)
- Lifestyle : Work : Work in team/ Tandem (Theater companies)
- Passions : Criminal Perpetrator : Civil/ Political (Helped forge ID papers)
- Personal : Death : Long life more than 80 yrs
- Vocation : Art : Fine art artist (Ceramist)
- Vocation : Business : Business owner (Mime school, director)
- Vocation : Business : Middle Management (Director, mime school)
- Vocation : Entertainment : Actor/ Actress
- Vocation : Entertainment : Live Stage (Legitimate theater)
- Vocation : Entertainment : Mime
- Vocation : Military : Military service (French Army)
- Vocation : Politics : Activist/ political (Member of Nazi Resistance)
- Vocation : Writers : Fiction
- Notable : Extraordinary Talents : For Languages (Speaks five languages)
- Notable : Awards : Emmy (Twice)
- Notable : Awards : Vocational award (Comedy Rank-National Order..., Masson Prize)
- Notable : Awards : Other Awards (Knight-French Legion of Honor, others)
- Notable : Famous : Historic figure (Name synonymous with mime)
- Notable : Famous : Founder/ originator (Mime Company)
- Notable : Famous : Top 5% of Profession