The Advertiser (Australia)
October 6, 2018 Saturday
Singer and star showed sublime skills
CHARLES AZNAVOUR Singer Born: May 22, 1924; Paris, France Died: October 1, 2018; Mouries, south of France ONE of France's most popular singers, Charles Aznavour sold 180 million discs and wrote and co-wrote more than 1000 songs.
Charles was born Shahnour Vaghinag Aznavourian into an Armenian family, his father a singer in Paris restaurants before opening his own, Le Caucase. Charles is considered the most famous of all Armenians.
Their story has parallels with the persecution of Jews, and during World War II Charles helped his family hide Jews from the Nazis. He and his sister Aida recently received the Raoul Wallenberg Award for their wartime activities. He gained many honorary awards for his promotion of Armenian lands and culture.
He began performing on stage and screen as a child and later danced in nightclubs. He switched to singing in 1944 and wrote his first song, J'ai Bu, in 1950. He was encouraged by Edith Piaf who helped develop his talking while singing style. His fluency in many languages helped. How Sad Venice Can Be, sung in at least five languages according to the location, was his first hit in the 1960s. By then he had starred in Francois Truffaut's 1960 film Shoot The Piano Player.
She followed in 1974, as a major hit, topping British pop charts for four weeks. He sang with many collaborators, including Piaf, Fred Astaire, Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan and Luciano Pavarotti. There was Dusty Springfield, Liza Minnelli, Elton John and Shirley Bassey; it seemed everyone wanted to sing with him. Placido Domingo often sang his hits, and was a close friend.
He married three times, last in 1967 to Ulla Thorsell who survives him. His marriages produced six children.
When he reached the age of 80 he began his farewell tour, a continuing tour that took him around the world and only began to falter this year, when he was 94. His last performance, in Japan, was on September 19 this year.He died in his bathtub at his home in Mouries in the south of France after suffering heart and breathing problems.