Le MimeAs per the JTA:

Marcel Marceau, who escaped deportation to a Nazi death camp and went on to become a mime legend, has died… His former assistant, Emmanuel Vacca, announced Marceau’s death on French radio Sunday but did not provide details. Marceau had died the day before in Paris at the age of 84… Marceau was born Marcel Mangel to Jewish parents in Strasbourg, France. He changed his name to Marceau to hide his Jewish origins when the Nazis marched into eastern France and he fled with family members. His father was sent to Auschwitz in 1944 and did not survive… Marceau and his brother Alain worked with the French Resistance to protect Jewish children… As a mime, Marceau was best known for his onstage persona Bip, a sad and chalk-faced clown who wore a stovepipe hat adorned with a red flower. Among his many other characters were a peevish waiter, a lion tamer and an old woman knitting…

His inspiration was Charlie Chaplin, and Marceau would inspire countless performers, notably Michael Jackson, who borrowed the “moonwalk” from the mime’s “Walking Against the Wind” sketch.

The BBC reports his daughter Camile saying that he will likely be buried in Paris’s famous Pere Lachaise cemetery. I’d like to say something kinda funny because he was a French mime after all. But then he had to go and survive Auschwitz and now I just don’t feel like being funny.

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ck

Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.

7 Comments

  • Seems like the Jew-hater Michael Jackson wasn’t above stealing the creative ideas of a Jew. Typical.

  • I remember when I was an aspiring mime… yes…I was in 8th grade. And my mom took me to see Marceau. Itried to incorporate what I learned from his amazing performance in our mime troupe. Yes, I know it sounds funny. But that performance truly had an impact on my life. It made me appreciate how much could be done, without saying a word.

  • Marceau didn’t survive Auschwitz.

    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.

    In 1944 he joined the French army, and the next year, while stationed in Germany, he gave his first public performance as a mime for an audience of some 3,000 American soldiers.

    The NY Times also had a pretty informative article about him.

  • His funny wasn’t about the ha ha kind of funny. He messed around with your idea of reality.

    He leaned nonchalantly on a fireplace mantel – that wasn’t there.

    He made a reality that wasn’t there, but for him, it was. So you thought, maybe I am making my own reality, too.

    He was so in charge. He made his own reality.

    If he decided that mantel was there, it was.

    When he was finished with you, you weren’t sure of anything, and loved it, because you trusted his subtle integrity.

  • My only recollection of Marceau was his cameo in “Silent Movie”, in which he spoke the only word in the movie that could be heard, “No!”

  • OK, some funny quotes re: his death that I’ve seen:
    “Instead of a moment of silence, we should have a moment of NOISE.”
    “Let’s see him try to get out of THAT box.”
    “He’s just miming dead. Dig him up before he really dies.”

    And of course, the classic, thanks to Richard Lewis in Robin Hood: Men in Tights:
    “A mime is a terrible thing to waste.”

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