The Playgoer: Marcel Marceau

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Monday, September 24, 2007

Marcel Marceau

From the NYT obit, some things I didn't know.

After the war Mr. Marceau attended the acting school run by Charles Dullin at the School of Dramatic Art in the Sarah Bernhardt Theater in Paris. He planned to become a speaking actor, but he studied under Etienne Decroux, a master of miming, who had taught the noted mime Jean-Louis Barrault. Mr. Barrault invited Mr. Marceau to join his theater company, and the rest was silence.
(Barrault, of course, was not just a mime but all around one of the most notable French stage actors of the 20th century. His image as a mime was cemented in the film, Les Enfants du Paradis.)

And how about this, from the funnyman's personal life:
Marcel Marceau was born Marcel Mangel, of Jewish parents in Strasbourg, France, on March 22, 1923. His father, a butcher, was deported to a concentration camp by the Germans in 1944 and never returned. Marcel moved to Paris, with a new surname and false identification papers. Until the liberation of Paris, he worked in the Resistance, hiding Jewish children from the Gestapo and the French police, who helped round up Jews for deportation.
Let us mourn. But, ok, you can add your own mime joke here as well.

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