Born Marcel Mangel in Strasbourg, France in 1923, he was inspired to become an actor after seeing a Charlie Chaplin film in 1946. After studying in Paris, Marcel joined Jean-Louis Barrault’s company where his fame spread.
In 1947 Marcel created the character, Bip the Clown, for which he is most famous. After winning the renowned Deburau Prize in 1949, Marcel formed his own troup, Compagnie de Mime Marcel Marceau. At the time, this was the only pantomime company in the world.
Through his numerous television appearances in the 1970’s and 80’s, Marcel brought the art of pantomime to the world stage. He was a favorite guest of Johnny Carson, Merv Griffin, and Red Skelton.
Marcel also took part in movies. His most satirical was in the Mel Brooks film, Silent Movie, where Marcel had the only speaking part.
If you were privileged to see his 2000 tour in the U.S. or other parts around the globe, you saw a master at work. He was truly a genius and ahead of his time. He will be missed.