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Encyclopedia > Maurice Chevalier
French singer Maurice Chevalier with stars of Hellzapoppin at Expo 67, in Montreal, Quebec.
French singer Maurice Chevalier with stars of Hellzapoppin at Expo 67, in Montreal, Quebec.

Maurice Chevalier (September 12, 1888January 1, 1972) was a French actor, singer, and popular entertainer. Chevalier's signature songs included "Louise", "Mimi", and "Valentine." His trademark was a casual straw hat, which he always wore on stage with his tuxedo. Image File history File links Maurice_Chevalier_Helizapoppin_Expo67. ... Image File history File links Maurice_Chevalier_Helizapoppin_Expo67. ... September 12 is the 255th day of the year (256th in leap years). ... 1888 (MDCCCLXXXVIII) is a leap year starting on Sunday (click on link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar or a leap year starting on Tuesday of the Julian calendar. ... January 1 is the first day of the calendar year in both the Julian and Gregorian calendars. ... 1972 (MCMLXXII) was a leap year starting on Saturday. ... Actors in period costume sharing a joke while waiting between takes during location filming An actor is a person who acts, or plays a role, in a dramatic production. ... Ercole de Roberti: Concert, c. ... A straw hat is a large brimmed hat that is woven out of straw. ... Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and U.S. President Ronald Reagan wearing black tie with wives in Quebec, Canada, March 18, 1985. ...


Early life

He was born in Paris, France in 1888. His father was a house painter. His mother was of Belgian descent. Maurice made his name as a star of musical comedy, appearing in public as a singer and dancer at an early age. The Eiffel Tower has become the symbol of Paris throughout the world. ...

It was in 1901 that he first began in show business at the age of 13. He was singing, unpaid, at a café when a well-known member of the theatre saw him and suggested that he try out for a local musical. He did so, and got the part. Chevalier got a name as imitator and singer. His act in l' Alcazar in Marseille was so successful he made a triumphant rearrival in Paris. Show business is a vernacular term for the business of entertainment. ... City flag Coat of arms Motto: By her great deeds, the city of Massilia shines Location Coordinates Time Zone CET (GMT +1) Administration Country France Region Provence-Alpes-Côte dAzur Department Bouches-du-Rhône (13) Subdivisions 16 arrondissements (in 8 secteurs) Intercommunality Urban Community of Marseille Provence...

In 1909, he became the partner of the biggest female star in France at the time, Fréhel. However, due to her alcohol and drug addiction their liaison ended in 1911. Chevalier then started a relationship with the 36 year old Mistinguett at the Folies Bergère; they would eventually play out a very public romance. Fréhel, born Marguerite Boulch on July 14, 1891 – died February 3, 1951, was a French singer and actress. ... Mistinguett (April 5, 1875 - January 5, 1956 from Enghien-les-Bains, Val-dOise, ÃŽle-de-France, France) was a French actress and singer, with birth name of Jeanne Bourgeois. ... Costume, c. ...

World War I

When in 1914 World War I broke out, Chevalier was called up for army service. He was shot in the back in the first weeks of combat and taken as a prisoner of war in Germany for two years. In 1916, he managed to escape due to Mistinguett's numerous relations. Combatants Allied Powers: Russian Empire France British Empire Italy United States Central Powers: Austria-Hungary German Empire Ottoman Empire Bulgaria Commanders Nicholas II Aleksei Brusilov Georges Clemenceau Joseph Joffre Ferdinand Foch Herbert Henry Asquith Douglas Haig John Jellicoe Victor Emmanuel III Luigi Cadorna Armando Diaz Woodrow Wilson John Pershing Franz...

In 1917, he became a star in le Casino de Paris and played before a public of British soldiers and Americans. He discovered jazz and ragtime and started thinking about touring in the United States. In prison camp, he studied English and therefore had a certain advantage over other French artists. He went to London where he found new success, though still singing his repertoire in French. Jazz is a musical art form that originated in New Orleans at around the start of the 20th century. ... Second edition cover of Maple Leaf Rag, perhaps the most famous rag of all Ragtime is an American musical genre enjoying its peak popularity between 1899 and 1918. ...


After the war. Chevalier went back to Paris and created several famous songs that are still known today, such as ‘Valentine’ (1924). He played in a few pictures and made a huge impression in the operetta, Dédé. He met the American composers George Gershwin and Irving Berlin and brought Dédé to Broadway in 1922. It was not a success and Chevalier returned to France where he tried to commit suicide[citation needed] in 1924 because of this failure. The same year he met Yvonne Vallée, a young dancer, who became his wife in 1927. Operetta (literally, little opera) is a performance art-form similar to opera, though it generally deals with less serious topics. ... George Gershwin (September 26, 1898 – July 11, 1937) was an American composer who wrote most of his vocal and theatrical works in collaboration with his elder brother lyricist Ira Gershwin. ... Irving Berlin (May 11, 1888 – September 22, 1989) was an American composer and lyricist, one of the most prodigious and famous American songwriters in history. ... Broadway theatre[1] is often considered the highest professional form of theatre in the United States. ...

When sound made its entrée in the film world, Chevalier returned to Hollywood in 1928 and this time he became very successful. He signed a contract with Paramount Pictures and played his first American role in Innocents of Paris. In 1930 he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor, for two roles, The Love Parade (1929) and The Big Pond (1930). The Big Pond garnered Chevalier his first big American hit song, "Livin' In the Sunlight - Lovin' In the Moonlight" with words and music by Al Lewis and Al Sherman. He collaborated with film director Ernst Lubitsch. While under contract with Paramount, Chevalier was featured in the Marx Brothers film Monkey Business (1931) when his passport was used by each brother in turn, trying to sneak off the ocean liner where they were stowaways. In 1931, Maurice Chevalier starred in a musical called The Smiling Lieutenant along with Claudette Colbert. Despite the disdain audiences held for musicals in 1931[1], it proved to be a very successful film. ... Paramount Pictures Corporation is an American motion picture production and distribution company, based in Hollywood, California. ... The Academy Award for Best Actor is one of the awards given to male actors working in the motion picture industry by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; nominations are made by Academy members who are actors and actresses. ... The Love Parade is a 1929 musical comedy film. ... The Big Pond is a 1930 romantic comedy film starring Maurice Chevalier, Claudette Colbert, George Barbier, Marion Ballou and Andrée Corday. ... Livin In the Sunlight - Lovin In the Moonlight was Maurice Chevaliers first American, hit song. ... Al Lewis (April 30, 1923 – February 3, 2006) was an American actor best known for his role as Grandpa on the television series The Munsters. ... Al Sherman was an important Jewish-American, Tin Pan Alley songwriter from the first half of the twentieth century. ... The film director, on the right, gives last minute direction to the cast and crew, whilst filming a costume drama on location in London. ... Ernst Lubitsch (January 28, 1892 – November 30, 1947), was a German-born Jewish film director. ... Groucho, Gummo, Minnie (mother), Zeppo, Frenchy (father), Chico and Harpo. ... Monkey Business is a 1931 film, the third of the Marx Brothers movies and the first not to be an adaptation of one of their Broadway shows. ... The Smiling Lieutenant is a 1932 film nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. ... Claudette Colbert, (September 13, 1903 - July 30, 1996) was a motion picture and stage actress. ...

In 1932, he starred with Jeanette MacDonald in Paramount's classic film musical, One Hour With You which became a huge box-office success and became one of the films instrumental in making musicals popular with the public once again. Due to its popularity, Paramount quickly starred Maurice Chevalier in another musical called Love Me Tonight, which was also released in 1932 and also co-starred Jeanette MacDonald. It is about a tailor who falls in love with a princess when he goes to a castle to collect a debt and is mistaken for a baron. Featuring songs by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, it was directed by Rouben Mamoulian, who, with the help of the songwriters, was able to put his ideas of the "integrated musical" (a musical which blends songs and dialogue seamlessly so that the songs seem to advance the plot). It has since come to be considered one of the greatest film musicals of all time.[2] Jeanette MacDonald Jeanette MacDonald (June 18, 1903 – January 14, 1965) was a singer and actress best remembered for her musical films of the 1930s with Maurice Chevalier (Love Me Tonight, The Merry Widow) and Nelson Eddy (Naughty Marietta, Rose Marie, and Maytime). ... One Hour With You is a 1932 film nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. ... Love Me Tonight is a 1932 musical comedy film which tells the story of a penniless nobleman who moves a tailor to whom he owes money into his chateau and passes him off as nobility. ... For more on his work with his two partners, see Rodgers and Hart and Rodgers and Hammerstein. ... Lorenz (Larry) Hart (May 2, 1895 - November 22, 1943) was the lyricist half of the famed Broadway songwriting team Rodgers and Hart. ... Rouben Mamoulian (October 8, 1897 – December 4, 1987) was an American film and theatre director. ...

In 1934, he starred in the first sound film version of the Franz Lehar operetta The Merry Widow, one of his best-known films. He became one of the big stars in Hollywood, very rare for French artists in those days. In 1935, he signed with MGM and returned to France later that year. Franz Lehár (30 April 1870 - 24 October 1948) was an Austro-Hungarian composer, mainly known for his operettas. ... For the ballet, see The Merry Widow (ballet). ... MGM logo Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer or MGM, is a large media company, involved primarily in the production and distribution of cinema and television programs. ...

In 1937, he divorced his wife and married the dancer Nita Raya. He had several successes such as his revue Paris en Joie in the Casino de Paris. A year later, he performed in Amours de Paris. His songs remained big hits, such as Prosper (1935), Ma Pomme (1936) and Ça fait d'excellents français (1939)

World War II

During World War II. Chevalier kept performing for audiences, even German soldiers. He admired Philippe Pétain, who led the collaborating Vichy regime during the war. (It must be stated that many Frenchmen at that time admired Pétain for his victories in World War I.) He moved to Cannes where he and his Jewish wife, Nita Raya, lived and where he gave several performances. Combatants Allied Powers: United Kingdom France Soviet Union United States Republic of China and others Axis Powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Winston Churchill Charles de Gaulle Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Chiang Kai-Shek Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tojo Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33... Henri-Philippe Pétain Henri Philippe Benoni Omer Joseph Pétain (24 April 1856 – 23 July 1951), generally known as Philippe Pétain or Marshal Pétain, was a French general, later Head of State of Vichy France, from 1940 to 1944. ... The Opera in Vichy. ... The word Jew ( Hebrew: יהודי) is used in a wide number of ways, but generally refers to a follower of the Jewish faith, a child of a Jewish mother, or someone of Jewish descent with a connection to Jewish culture or ethnicity and often a combination...

In 1941, he performed a new revue in the Casino de Paris: Bonjour Paris, which was another smash succes. Songs like "Ça sent si bon la France" and "La Chanson du maçon" became other new hits. The Nazis asked Chevalier if he wanted to perform in Berlin and sing for the collaborating radio station Radio-Paris. He refused, but did give several performances in front of prisoners of war in Germany where he succeeded in liberating ten people in exchange. Berlin is the capital city and one of the sixteen states of the Federal Republic of Germany. ...

In 1942 he returned to Bocca, near Cannes, but returned to the French capital city in September. In 1944 when the Allied forces freed France, Chevalier was accused of collaboration. Even though he was formally acquitted of these charges, the English-speaking press remained very hostile and he was refused a visa for several years. To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section can be improved by converting lengthy lists to text. ...

After the war

In his own country, however, he was still very popular. In 1946, he divorced from Nita Raya and started writing his memoirs, which took him many years to complete.

He started to paint and collect things and acted in Le Silence est d'Or (1946) by René Clair. He still toured throughout the United States and other parts of the world and returned to France in 1948. René Clair (November 11, 1898 – March 15, 1981) was a French filmmaker. ...

In 1949, he performed in Stockholm in a communist benefit against nuclear arms. (In 1944, he had already participated in a communist demonstration in Paris). Joseph McCarthy's anti-communist efforts in the USA made him less popular in that country during the early fifties. In 1951, he was refused re-entry into the U.S. because he had earlier signed an anti-nuclear petition known as the Stockholm Appeal.   (IPA: ; UN/LOCODE: SE STO) is the capital of Sweden, and consequently the site of its Government and Parliament as well as the residence of the Swedish head of state, King Carl XVI Gustaf. ... This article is about communism as a form of society and as a political movement. ... Joseph Raymond McCarthy (November 14, 1908 – May 2, 1957) was a Republican U.S. Senator from the state of Wisconsin between 1947 and 1957. ... March 1950: The World Peace Council releases the Stockholm Appeal calling for an absolute ban on nuclear weapons. ...

In 1952, he bought a large property in Marnes-la-Coquette, Paris and named it ‘La Louque’, as a homage to his mother's nickname. He started a new relationship in 1952 with Janie Michels, a young divorced mother with three children. Being a painter herself she encouraged Chevalier's artistic hobby. Marnes-la-Coquette is a commune in the western suburbs of Paris, France. ... // A nickname is a short, clever, cute, derogatory, or otherwise substitute name for a person or things real name (for example, Bob, Rob, Robby, Robbie, Robi, Robin, Bobby, Rab, Rabbie, Bert, Bertie, Butch, Bobbers, Bobert, Beto, Bobadito, and Robban (in Sweden), are all nicknames for Robert). ...

In 1954 after McCarthy's downfall, Chevalier was welcomed back in the United States. He made a success in the Billy Wilder film Love in the Afternoon (1957) with Audrey Hepburn and Gary Cooper, and rediscovered his popularity with new audiences, appearing in the movie musical, Gigi (1958) with Leslie Caron and Hermione Gingold, with whom he shared the song "I Remember It Well", and several Walt Disney films. The great success of Gigi prompted Hollywood to give him an Honorary Academy Award that same year for his lifetime achievements in the field of entertainment. Also in Gigi, the song "Thank Heaven for Little Girls" became a signature song for him. Billy Wilder (June 22, 1906 – March 27, 2002) was an Austrian-American journalist, screenwriter, film director, and producer whose career spanned more than 50 years and 60 films. ... Love in the Afternoon may refer to either of two films: Love in the Afternoon, a 1957 film directed by Billy Wilder Love in the Afternoon, a 1972 film directed by Eric Rohmer ... Audrey Hepburn (May 4, 1929 – January 20, 1993) was an Academy Award-winning film and theatre actress, Broadway stage performer, former ballerina, fashion model, and humanitarian. ... Gary Cooper (born Frank James Cooper May 7, 1901 – May 13, 1961) was a two-time Academy Award-winning American film actor of English heritage. ... Gigi is a 1958 motion picture musical set in Paris, France. ... Leslie Caron (born July 1, 1931) is an Academy Award-nominated French film actress and dancer. ... Hermione Gingold (December 9, 1897-May 24, 1987) was a British actress known for her sharp-tongued, eccentric persona, an image enhanced by her sharp nose and chin, as well as her deepening voice, a result of vocal nodes which her mother encouraged her not to remove. ... For the company founded by Disney, see The Walt Disney Company. ...

Final years

Chevalier continued to work up until very old age with energy and enthusiasm. In the early 1960s, he toured the United States and between 1960 and 1963 he made eight films. When he returned to France, he was invited by president Charles de Gaulle for a meal. Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle ( ) (22 November 1890 – 9 November 1970), in France commonly referred to as Général de Gaulle, was a French military leader and statesman. ...

In 1965, at the age of 77 he made another world tour and visited again the US and other countries like South Africa. In 1967 he toured in Latin America, again the US, Europe and Canada. Latin America consists of the countries of South America and some of North America (including Central America and some the islands of the Caribbean) whose inhabitants mostly speak Romance languages, although Native American languages are also spoken. ...

In 1968, on October 1, he announced his official farewell tour. Tired but nonetheless still able to entertain people he stopped twenty days later. October 1 is the 274th day of the year (275th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...

In 1970, he sang the title song of the Disney film The Aristocats. During a tour in the US he decided to stay there. However in December 1971 he fell ill and had to be taken to a hospital. The Aristocats is the twentieth animated feature in the Disney animated features canon, released in 1970 from the Walt Disney studio. ...

Maurice Chevalier died on January 1, 1972, aged 83, and was interred in the cemetery of Marnes-la-Coquette in Hauts-de-Seine, France. January 1 is the first day of the calendar year in both the Julian and Gregorian calendars. ... 1972 (MCMLXXII) was a leap year starting on Saturday. ... Hauts-de-Seine is a département in France. ...

Famous songs

  • "Madelon de la Victoire" (1918)
  • "Dans la vie faut pas s'en faire" (1921)
  • "Valentine" (1924)
  • "Louise" (1929)
  • "You Brought a New Kind of Love to Me" (1930)
  • "Mimi" (1932)
  • "Living In the Sunlight, Loving In the Moonlight" (1933)
  • "Prosper (Yop La Boum)" (1935)
  • "Quand un Vicomte" (1935)
  • "Ma Pomme" (1936)
  • "Le Chapeau de Zozo" (1936)
  • "Mimile (un gars du Ménilmontant)" (1936)
  • "Ça Fait d' Excellents Français" (1939)
  • "Ça sent si bon la France" (1941)
  • "La Chanson du Maçon" (1941)
  • "Notre Espoir" (1941)
  • "Up On Top Of A Rainbow (Sweepin' The Clouds Away" (?)
  • "Thank Heaven For Little Girls" (1957)
  • "I Remember It Well" (1957)
  • "Enjoy It!" (1967)
  • "The Aristocats" (1970)

Enjoy It! is a song from the 1962 Walt Disney adventure film: In Search of the Castaways. ... The Aristocats is the twentieth animated feature in the Disney animated features canon, released in 1970 from the Walt Disney studio. ...


  • Chevalier has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1651 Vine Street.
  • Maurice Chevalier's trademark laugh is transcribed as "Onh-onh-onh".

A band plays on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. ...

External links

  Results from FactBites:
Maurice Chevalier - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (504 words)
Maurice Chevalier (September 12, 1888 – January 1, 1972) was a French actor and popular entertainer.
Chevalier's signature songs included "Louise", "Mimi", and "Valentine." His trademark was a casual straw hat, which he always wore on stage with his tuxedo.
Maurice Chevalier died on January 1, 1972 aged 83, and was interred in the cemetery of Marnes la Coquette in Hauts-de-Seine, France.
Maurice Chevalier Valentine -Liner Notes (449 words)
The prototype of the French Charmer, Maurice Chevalier (1888-1972) began his career as an entertainer at a very early age.
Chevalier, as they say in show business, was "a natural," who could get a smile out of the sternest of faces.
Seldom seen without his trademark hats, Chevalier delivered his lines and sang his songs in a gently satirical tone, which was unfailingly good natured.
  More results at FactBites »



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