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Charles Fernley Fawcett
Birth: Dec. 2, 1915
Waleska
Cherokee County
Georgia, USA
Death: Feb. 3, 2008
Greater London, England

Actor, Filmmaker, Soldier. Co-founder of the International Medical Corps (IMC). The orphaned Fawcett, younger brother and two sisters, were raised by two aunts in Greenville, South Carolina. As a free-spirited young teenager, he began his life as an adventurer by working on steamships and traveling to the Far East. After a brief return to the U.S., he traveled to France where he made a living as a wrestler and an artist's model. When the U.S. entered the war in Europe, he tried to join the U.S. Intelligence community. His attempt unsuccessful, Fawcett volunteered as a member of 'Section Volontaire des Americains', the ambulance corps. Upon learning of American journalist Varian Fry's 'Emergency Rescue Committee' in Vichy France, he joined the organization whose purpose was to assist in the escape of countless Jews and anti-Nazi artists, writers, academics and professionals. A number of those rescued included artist Marc Chagall, German-Jewish political theorist Hannah Arendt, sculptor Max Ernst, composer Alma Mahler-Werfel and her husband Franz Werzel, a novelist of Jewish descent and author of 'The Song of Bernadette'. Being the idealistic Southern gentleman that he was, in a 3-month period Fawcett married six Jewish women who were refugees from concentration camps, thus enabling them to leave France with American visas. Upon hearing that the Gestapo was on the way to arrest him, Fawcett escaped to Great Britain where he became a member of the RAF. While in the midst of this current adventure, he redeveloped tuberculosis, which he first had as a child, and spent some time in Arizona recovering. He was soon back in the throes of battle by rejoining the war effort in Alsace with the French Foreign Legion and later fighting Communists in the Greek civil war. Afterward, Fawcett tried his hand at acting and would go on to appear in mostly foreign films in a career spanning about 25 years, during which he made friends with stars Orson Welles and William Holden and had a love affair with film beauty, Hedy Lamarr. When the tuberculosis returned he went into semi-retirement, living in Houston and becoming a part of its elite society circles. But adventure called again in 1979 when he learned of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. There he filmed footage of the conflict and the atrocities. He enlisted his friend, socialite Joanne Herring to help him bring these events to the attention of the U.S. Government. This documentary, narrated by Orson Welles, greatly influenced the U.S. to secretly arm and fund the Mujahideen, tribal warriors who were fighting the invasion of the Red Army. This chain of events was recently dramatized in the film, "Charlie Wilson's War" starring Julia Roberts and Tom Hanks. Although a success in his life of adventure, the personal side of his life always seemed to take a back seat. His 30-year engagement to April Ducksbury finally ended in marriage in 1991. An early relationship produced a daughter to whom he was estranged until after she was 21. "Charles felt very sad that Marina wasn't in his life," says April. "But he didn't know what to do. He felt he'd been a hopeless father - he was embarrassed to intrude in her life." At Fawcett's memorial service in London, friend Andy Marino explained his perception of Charles Fernley Fawcett, "I always thought of him as the last of the Southern gentlemen, with an antebellum graciousness and the natural charm and poise of one of nature's aristocrats. When you think about it, he was one of the USA's first really useful exports to the world: Charlie was the last of that first great migrant generation, headed up by Hemingway, that returned to Europe. And he was very much in the Ernest Hemingway mould, although I would much rather have a drink with Charlie....Charlie was a gypsy and a swashbuckler, and earned what he was born with: charisma." His wife and daughter traveled to Paris and, together, scattered his ashes in the Seine. (bio by: Nan) 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  Charles Fernley Fawcett (1879 - 1952)
  Helen Hortense Shumate Fawcett (1873 - 1922)
 
 Siblings:
  Helen Harriet Fawcett (1914 - 2004)*
  Charles Fernley Fawcett (1915 - 2008)
  Mary Isabel Fawcett (1917 - 2000)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Cremated, Ashes scattered.
Specifically: Ashes scattered into the Seine River in Paris, France
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Nan
Record added: Feb 27, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 24915977
Charles Fernley Fawcett
Added by: Nan
 
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Rest in Peace
- Maxine Kravitz
 Added: May. 6, 2016

- Bunny
 Added: Feb. 3, 2016

- sjm
 Added: Feb. 3, 2016
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