Sunday, September 12, 2010

Happy Birthday: Maurice Chevalier!

He was born in Paris to a house painter father and a mother of Belgian descent. He made his name as a star of musical comedy, performing as a singer and dancer at a very early age.

He worked in a number of jobs: A carpenter's apprentice, electrician, printer and doll painter. He began his show business carrer in 1901. He was singing, unpaid, at a café when someone from the theatre saw him and said he should try out for the local musical. Chevalier made a name as a mimic and a singer. His act in l'Alcazar in Marseille was so successful, he went on to perform in Paris.

In 1909, he became the partner of the biggest female star in France, Fréhel. In 1911, Chevalier then began a relationship with 36-year-old Mistinguett at the Folies Bergère where he was her 18 year old dance partner.

Chevalier's signature songs were, "Louise", "Mimi", "Valentine", and "Thank Heaven for Little Girls". His trademark was a boater hat, which he always wore on stage with his tuxedo.

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