Maurice Chevalier

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The prototype of the French Charmer, Maurice Chevalier (1888-1972) began his career as an entertainer at a very early age. Singing in slummy suburban variety theaters, and then performing at some of France's less glamorous bathing resorts, Chevalier did his part to keep the family fed. And, much to the delight of several future generations of fans, he was able to discover and hone the various talents that would keep him on the stage long after the lash of economic necessity had ceased to drive him to the front of the crowd.

Chevalier, as they say in show business, was "a natural," who could get a smile out of the sternest of faces. Still, it was not until he was in his mid-thirties, that Chevalier's innate abilities became known to a very wide-audience. Having been released, thanks to some friendly intervention, from a Prisoner of War of Camp in Germany during World War I, Chevalier returned to Paris, where he teamed up with the revue star Mistinguett. Their act, at the Follies Bergere, quickly became the rage, and established Chevalier as the most admired performer on the scene. He went on to win great acclaim and many new fans with a series of remarkable one man shows, in Paris, London and New York. With his intentionally heavy accent, his teasingly insinuating songs, and his ever so debonair and stylish manner, Chevalier became the embodiment of things French to English-speaking audiences.

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