Monsieur Marceau: Actor without Words

by Leda Schubert and Gerard DuBois

The famous mime Marcel Marceau made millions laugh and cry without ever saying a... read more

The famous mime Marcel Marceau made millions laugh and cry without ever saying a single word, but when he wasn’t on stage he loved to talk. Born in Strasbourg, France, he grew up loving movies, especially Charlie Chaplin movies, but there was no time for the cinema during World War II. He joined the French Resistance and led Jewish children over the mountains to safety in Switzerland. He also changed his name from Mangel to Marceau, hiding his Jewish identity. “The people who came back from the camps were never able to talk about it … Perhaps that, unconsciously, contributed towards my choice of silence,” he said. As for his art, “He chases butterflies without a net. He walks against the wind, but there is no wind. He can be a tree or a flower, a fish or a human being.” The illustrations deftly showcase Marceau’s work as a mime and depict scenes from his childhood and young adulthood in a terrific introduction to Marceau that is followed by an afterword with more about this singular artist, including his advice to young mimes. Source notes and further reading are also provided. (Ages 5–9)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2013

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