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BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Obituary: Marcel Marceau
Obituary: Marcel Marceau
Legendary mime artist Marcel Marceau, who has died aged 84, captivated the world for decades.
He epitomised the silent art, eliciting laughter and tears from audiences around the world.
"Mime, like music, knows neither borders nor nationalities," he once said.
"If laughter and tears are the characteristics of humanity, all cultures are steeped in our discipline."
Marceau was best known for the melancholy, engaging clown Bip, who he created 60 years ago.
With a stripy top, white face, and limp red flower in his battered silk hat, he charmed with his deft silent movements, and mercurial expressions.
Off stage, Marceau was known as a witty, chatty and generous man.
Marceau was born Marcel Mangel in the Alsatian town of Strasbourg on 22 March 1923.
He was brought up in Lille, where his Jewish father was a butcher.
When World War II came to France, his father was captured and sent by the invading Nazis to Auschwitz, where he died. In 1944 Marceau joined his elder brother in the Resistance, later joining the French Army.
Inspired by the great US actors of the silent film era, Marceau began to study acting in 1946 under Charles Dullin and the great mime teacher Etienne Decroux, who also taught Jean-Louis Barrault.
It was in Marcel Carne's 1947 film Les Enfants du Paradis, starring Barrault, that Marceau - who played Arlequin - first became known as a mime artist
He formed his own mime company in 1948, and the troupe was soon touring other European countries.
The company failed financially in 1959, but was revived as a school, the Ecole Internationale de Mimodrame, in 1984.
A veteran of dozens of films, one of his best remembered roles was a speaking cameo in Silent Movie, made by US director Mel Brooks.
As he aged, Marceau kept performing, never losing the agility that made him famous.
On top of his Legion of Honor and his countless honorary degrees, he was invited to be a UN goodwill ambassador for a 2002 conference on aging.
"If you stop at all when you are 70 or 80, you cannot go on," he said in an interview in 2003.
"You have to keep working."