Marcel Marceau

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Marcel Marceau
Marcel Mangel
BirthplaceStrasbourg, France
Actor, mime artist
Known for Bip the Clown

Marceau, Marcel

(märsĕl` märsō`), 1923–2007, French mime, b. Strasbourg as Marcel Mangel. Marceau studied under Charles DullinDullin, Charles
, 1885–1949, French actor, producer, and director. Dullin was an outstanding member of Copeau's Théâtre du Vieux Colombier. He organized and toured with his own group before opening the Théâtre de l'Atelier in Paris in 1921.
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 and master mime Étienne Decroux in Paris. He gained renown in 1947 with the creation of Bip, a silent, sad, white-faced clown with a battered stovepipe hat decorated with a limp red flower. Almost single-handedly responsible for the revival of the art of mime in modern times, he performed an average of 200 shows a year, most of them outside France. Marceau and his Compagnie de Mimodrame (est. 1949) appeared frequently in the United States from 1955 to 2000. In 1978 he founded the Ecole de mimodrame de Paris, which has trained hundreds of performers. Marceau appeared in more than a dozen films, including Un jardin public (1955), and also made lithographs and wrote children's books.


See his Bip in a Book (2002, with B. Goldstone); G. Mendoza, The Marcel Marceau Alphabet Book (1970).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Marceau, Marcel


Born Mar. 22, 1923, in Strasbourg. French pantomimist.

Marceau was a student of the theatrical director C. Dullin and the actor E. Decroux. In 1947 he organized his own troupe, the Community of Mimes. Marceau created the character Bip, who is filled with a naive and joyful love of life and people. Bip is the central figure in mime scenes that vary in theme. Among Marceau’s best works are the pantomimes The Overcoat (based on N. V. Gogol’s story) and Paris Cries, Paris Laughs and the sketches “Youth, Maturity, Old Age, and Death,” “The Mask-maker,” and “David and Goliath.” Developing the artistic tradition of the outstanding 19th-century mime J.-B.-G. Deburau, Marceau’s performances are dramatic, poetic, and witty. They reflect human truths and are marked by broad character generalization. In 1960, Marceau’s company disbanded, and since then he has performed mainly outside of France. He appeared in the USSR in 1961, 1964, 1966, 1972, and 1973.


Boiadzhiev, G. Teatral’nyi Parizh segodnia. Moscow, 1960.
Markova, E. “Marseliu Marso—50 let.” Teatr, 1973, no. 4.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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