Marcel Mangel was born on March 22, 1923, in Strasbourg. His father, Charles, was a kosher butcher. When he was five, his mother Anne (nee Werzberger), took him to a Chaplin movie. He was entranced. At the age of 16, World War II forced his family to flee to Limoges (west-central France). To survive, they hid their Jewish origins and changed their name. Still, his father was captured and deported to Auschwitz, where he was killed.
Marcel and his brother, Alain, joined the French Resistance forging new identity cards for young Frenchmen trying to avoid German forced labor. Soon, young Marcel began smuggling Jewish children into Switzerland. Disguised as a Boy Scout leader, he took two dozen youngsters, also in scout uniforms, through the forests to the border. Adapting from the Chaplin movies, Marcel used mime to teach hundreds of Jewish children the art of communicating silently to keep them quiet while he helped them escape.
After the liberation of Paris, he joined the Free French Forces under de Gaulle. Owing to his excellent command of the English, French and German languages, he worked as a liaison officer with General George Patton's army. It was there, that MARCEL MARCEAU scored his first professional success, entertaining the American GIs in pantomime. After the war, Marcel was "discovered" by Laurel and Hardy. His career lasted over 60 years as an actor, director, teacher, interpreter, and public multilingual speaker on five continents. During that time, he spoke only once in a performance. It was in Mel Brooks' film "Silent Movie," He said the word, "Non." Marcel Marceau died on Yom Kippur in 2007.
Marcel Marceau quote: “Do not the most moving moments of our lives find us without words?”