Maurice Chevalier

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Maurice Chevalier

Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France
Death 1 Jan 1972 (aged 83)
Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France
Burial Marnes-la-Coquette, Departement des Hauts-de-Seine, Île-de-France, France
Memorial ID 7713 · View Source
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Actor, Singer. He is best remembered for his trademark straw boater hat and cane, and for his songs, "Louise," and "Thank Heavens for Little Girls." Born in Paris, France, he began working as a circus acrobat, when an accident turned him towards singing and acting. His first films, beginning in 1908, were French-made silent films for the French audience. In 1914, he joined the French Army when World War I broke out, but a year later he was captured by the Germans, and held as a Prisoner of War. While in the Alten Grabow POW Camp, he learned English from his fellow prisoners, and upon his release, he returned to making French silent films. In 1928, when talking films began in America, he felt the need to go to Hollywood, and in 1929, he began appearing in American films, with the short film "Bonjour New York". Hired by Paramount Pictures, he played in light, sophisticated roles that would emphasize his French charm, with "The Love Parade" (1929) as his first success, opposite Jeanette MacDonald, which earned him his first Oscar nomination. Immediately attracted to his beautiful co-star, and not lacking an ego, he made plays for MacDonald's affection off stage, only to be rejected when she preferred future husband, actor Gene Raymond. Not used to be so swiftly rejected, he called her a "prude," to which Jeanette called him "the quickest derriere pincher in Hollywood." His singing talent was showcased in the 1930 film, Paramount on Parade. In the late 1930s, he returned to Europe, where he continued to make British and French films. When France fell to Germany in June 1940, he found himself in occupied France, and he would act on the Paris stage, often in front of German soldier audiences, to survive the war years. This would later lead to his being accused of collaboration with the Nazis, although after the war he was vindicated. In the mid-1950s, he returned to Hollywood, where in 1958, he made the movie, "Gigi", which gave him his signature songs, "Thank Heaven for Little Girls" and "I Remember It Well." His later films tended to portray him in friendly patriarch roles. He was married only once, in 1927 to French actress Yvonne Vallee, but the marriage ended five years later in divorce. He died in Paris of cardiac arrest following kidney surgery, at the age of 83.

Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 18 Dec 1999
  • Find a Grave Memorial 7713
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Maurice Chevalier (12 Sep 1888–1 Jan 1972), Find a Grave Memorial no. 7713, citing Cimetière de Marnes la Coquette, Marnes-la-Coquette, Departement des Hauts-de-Seine, Île-de-France, France ; Maintained by Find A Grave .