Photo of Marcel Marceau Marcel Marceau

Marcel Marceau -- the most famous and beloved mime of the 20th century -- was born Marcel Mangel on March 22, 1923, in Strasbourg, France. As a teen, he and his family fled to southern France, where he changed his surname to hide his Jewish origins. An active member of the French underground, Marcel helped hundreds of Jewish children escape to safety in Switzerland.

In 1946, two years after his father died in a concentration camp, Marceau attended the Dullin School of Dramatic Art, where he was introduced to mime. He began to perfect a distinct, accessible style, and his popularity grew quickly. His most famous character, Bip, was modeled after Charlie Chaplin's Little Tramp.

By the 1950s, Marceau was known widely in America, thanks to TV appearances, and for the rest of the century he remained the art form's most celebrated practitioner and teacher. He died on Sept. 22, 2007, at age 84.

Marcel Marceau in Silent Movie

Silent Movie

1976 PG

Mel Funn (Mel Brooks), Marty Eggs (Marty Feldman) and Dom Bell (Dom DeLuise) are aspiring filmmakers with a million-dollar idea that goes completely against the modern grain: They want to make a silent film. To make the movie more marketable, they try to recruit several A-list stars to appear. At the same time, the studio's creditors try to quash the movie. The film itself contains only one word of dialogue.

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