Known as Bip the Clown and his antics as a mime, Marcel Marceau was born on March 22, 1923. He felt mime was the art of silence and performed his acts for over sixty years. He lived in hiding and worked with the French Resistance during WWII. He gave a major performance to French troops after the liberation of Paris in 1944.
Marceau set up his own pantomime school in Paris in 1959 and developed the Marceau Foundation to promote mime in the U.S. He was given the Grand Officer de la Legion d'Honneur in 1998 and was presented the National Order of Merit in France. Marceau garnered an Emmy, and was a member of the Academy of fine Arts in Berlin. He was a national treasure in Japan.
Marceau was cast in the role of Arlequin in the pantomime Baptiste. He won such acclaim that he was asked to present his first mimodrama Praxitele and the Golden Fish. Marceau created Bip the Clown and played this character at the Theatre de poche in Paris. Bip soon became his alter ego and his style of pantomime moved up a notch.
Marceau's mime included The Cage, Walking against the Wind, and In the Park. In 1949 Marceau received the Deburau Prize for his second mimodrama Death before Dawn. He originated Compagnie de Mime Marcel Marceau and played at le Theatre des Champs-Elysees, the Berhardt Theater and Le Theatre de la Renaissance. Other mimodramas include The Overcoat, Pierrot do Montmartre, The Three Wigs, The Pawn Shop and The Wolf of Tsu Ku Mi.
His films include First Class, Shanks, Barbarella and a cameo in Silent Movie. He has written children's books, The Marcel Marceau Alphabet Book and the Marcel Marceau Counting Book. He also wrote The Story of Bip and in 1982 Le Troisieme. In 2000 Marceau and his mime company brought their mimodrama The Bowler Hat to New York.
Marceau was married to Huguette Mallet and they had two sons. He then married Ella Jaroszewica, and his third wife was Anne Sicco and they had two daughters. Marceau died at the racetrack in Cahors, France on September 22, 2007. He was 84.