Sunday, September 23, 2007

Adieu, Marcel Marceau; R.I.P. Bip

Famed French pantomimist Marcel Marceau has died at the age of 84.

What an amazing life. I never knew that Marceau, whose real surname was Mangel, was Jewish and had fought in the French resistence in World War II and worked to save Jewish children from being sent to the death camps. Unfortunately, his father wasn't so lucky and died in Auschwitz.

Marceau, of course, had the only speaking line in Mel Brooks' Silent Movie. Asked if he wanted to be in Hollywood's first silent movie in decades, Marceau had only this to say: "Non!"

I also remember that in the filming of Braveheart, director/actor Mel Gibson told cast members that his female co-star, French actress Sophie Marceau, was the pantomimist's daughter. Asked about this, Marceau said that not only was she not related to him, she had never even met him.

R.I.P., Bip.

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