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Maurice Chevalier

Dubbed "the French Al Jolson," Maurice Chevalier was among the most beloved song-and-dance men of the pre-war era. Born September 12, 1888 in Paris, he was the youngest of nine children, quitting school at the age of 11 to work as an apprentice engraver and factory worker. Chevalier also later performed as a circus acrobat, but after suffering serious injuries he instead turned to singing in Parisian cafes and music halls; although his voice lacked power, he compensated with his fine comedic skills, and before long was among the most popular performers in France, often partnering with the infamous Minstinguett in the Folies-Bergere. Upon making his film debut in the 1908 silent comedy Trop Crédule, a series of other film roles followed before Chevalier joined the French forces fighting in World War I; from 1914 to 1916, he was held as a POW by the Germans, learning English from his fellow prisoners. He was later awarded a Croix de Guerre for his wartime service.

After his release, Chevalier returned to the cinema, as well as the cabaret circuit; clad in his trademark straw boater and bow tie, in 1925 he introduced "Valentine," one of the songs with which he remained identified for the duration of his career. Upon learning of the advent of motion picture sound, Chevalier relocated to Hollywood in 1928; a year later he made his American debut in Innocents of Paris, which popularized his song "Louise." He then traveled to New York, where he performed backed by Duke Ellington; returning to Hollywood, he next appeared opposite Jeanette MacDonald in Ernst Lubitsch's hit The Love Parade, a role which earned him an Academy Award nomination in the Best Actor category. Chevalier and MacDonald made a total of four films together, the most successful of them Rouben Mamoulian's 1932 effort Love Me Tonight, which included several original compositions by Rodgers & Hart, among them "Mimi" and "Isn't It Romantic."

With his happy-go-lucky charm and suave sophistication, Chevalier became a romantic superstar, but he abruptly left Hollywood in 1935, reportedly incensed over receiving second billing in a film; he returned to Europe a triumphant global success, quickly reclaiming his cabaret throne and continuing to appear in a variety of motion pictures. However, with the outbreak of World War II, Chevalier was reluctant to perform live in Nazi-occupied areas; he finally agreed to perform in Germany in 1941 on the condition that a group of French POWs be released. (Such dealings ultimately led to charges of Nazi collaboration, although he was later vindicated.) In the late 1940s, Chevalier developed a one-man stage show which he took to London and later the U.S.; after appearing in the 1950 feature Le Roi, he again attempted to return to America, but was denied re-entry after signing the anti-nuclear document known as the Stockholm Appeal.

In 1957, after several years away from the spotlight, Chevalier made a surprise return to Hollywood, appearing in Billy Wilder's Love in the Afternoon; a year later he starred in Gigi, the film's Lerner & Loewe score providing him with two of his signature songs, "Thank Heaven for Little Girls" and "I Remember It Well," the latter performed with Hermione Gingold. In 1959, Chevalier was awarded an honorary Oscar for "contributions to the world of entertainment for more than half a century." In 1960, he co-starred with Frank Sinatra and Louis Jourdan in Can-Can, but after 1961's Fanny he began appearing in smaller roles, typically cast as a patriarchal figure. After 1967's family comedy Monkeys, Go Home!, Chevalier retired from the screen, and his vocal rendition of the title song to the 1970 animated Disney feature The Aristocats was his last work in Hollywood; he died at home in Paris on January 1, 1972. ~ Jason Ankeny
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Le monde de la chanson, Vol. 14: Maurice Chevalier – Rendezvous à Paris (Remastered 2015)

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Track List: Chevalier

1. Place Pigalle

2. I Was Lucky

3. Paris Stay The Same

4. You Brought A New Kind Of Love To Me

5. Ma Pomme

6. Quand On Est Tout Seul

7. Rhythm Of The Rain

8. Ali Ben Baba (Chanson Arabe)

9. Ça Sent Si Bon La France (Louiguylarue)

10. Oh That Mitzi

11. Valentine

12. Mon Vieux Paris (Wienerpoterat)

13. Oh Maurice

14. Oui Papa (Everybody Loves My Girl)

15. Mimi

16. Prosper

17. Livin' In The Sunlight Lovin' In The Moonlight

18. Louise

19. My Love Paradise

21. La Choupetta

22. Wait Till You See Ma Chérie

23. Moonlight Saving Time

24. You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth

x

Track List: Maurice Chevalier

1. Louise

2. Balance-La (Valencia)

3. What Would You Do

4. Wait Till You See Me Cherie

5. Living In The Sunlight, Loving In The Moonlight

6. All I Want Is Just One Girl

7. Singing A Happy Song

8. Mimi

9. The Poor Apache

10. I Was Lucky

11. You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth

12. The Rhythm Of The Rain

13. Paris, Stay The Same

14. Give Me Your Hand Mam'zelle (Donna Moi La Main Mamzelle)

15. Nobody's Using It Now

16. Moonlight Saving Time

17. My Love Parade

18. Quand On R'vient

19. Up On The Top Of A Rainbow

20. Qu' Auriez-Vous Fait

x

Track List: Life Is Just A Bowl Of Cherries

1. Life Is Just A Bowl Of Cherries

2. You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby

3. April In Paris

4. Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone

5. Speak To Me Of Love

6. Did You Ever See A Dream Walking?

7. I Don't Know Why

8. Three Little Words

9. September Song

10. My Baby Just Cares For Me

11. You're Driving Me Crazy

12. She Didn't Say Yes

x

Track List: Maurice Chevalier Sings Broadway

1. Give My Regards To Broadway

2. I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face

3. C'est Magnifique

4. Just In Time

5. Some Enchanted Evening

6. It's All RIght With Me

7. Get Me To The Church On Time

8. I Love Paris

9. All Of You

10. Please Do It Again

11. A New-Fangled Tango

12. Almost Like Being In Love

x

Track List: The French Song / Anthology - Recordings 1928 - 1942

1. Valentine

2. Louise

3. Ma Régulière

4. Mimi

5. Paris, Je T'aime

6. La Romance De La Pluie

7. Prosper

8. Donnez-Moi La Main, Mam'selle

9. Ma Pomme

10. Ah, Si Vous Connaissiez Ma Poule

11. Quand Un Vicomte

12. Le Chapeau De Zozo

13. Y A D'la Joie

14. Un P'tit Air

15. Mimile

16. Ça Fait D'excellents Français

17. Paris Sera Toujours Paris

18. Ca Sent Si Bon La France

19. La Chanson Du Maçon

20. La Marche De Ménilmontant

x

Track List: Gigi

2. Thank Heaven For Little Girls

3. It's A Bore

4. The Parisians

6. The Night They Invented Champagne

7. I Remember It Well

8. Say A Prayer For Me Tonight

9. I'm Glad I'm Not Young Anymore

11. Thank Heaven For Little Girls (Finale)

x

Track List: Classic Collection Vol. 2

1. Paris Sera Toujours Paris

2. La Polka Des Barbus

3. L'Amour Est Passe Pres De Vous

4. Partout C'es L'Amour

5. Valentine

6. Marche De Minilmontant

7. On Est Comme On Est

8. Quai De Bercy

9. Les Mirlitons

10. La Choupetta

11. Dites-Moi Ma Mere

12. Quand Un Vicomte

13. Mimi

14. Ca Fait D'Excellents Francais

15. Le Petote Dame De L'Expo

16. Fleur De Paris

17. Une Brune Une Blonde

18. Mon Vieux Paris

x

Track List: Le plus grandes chansons

1. Paris Sera Toujours Paris

2. Ma Pomme

3. Valentine

4. Ah Si Vous Connaissiez Ma Poule

5. Appelez-Ça Comme Vous Voulez

6. Ça S'est Passé Un Dimanche

7. Ça Fait D'Excellents Français

8. La Romance De La Pluie

9. Le Chapeau De Zozo

10. L'Objet

11. Un P'tit Air

12. Mimi

13. Paris Je T'aime D'Amour

14. Prosper

15. Quand Un Vicomte

x

Track List: Singing A Happy Song

1. Mimi

2. All I Want Is Just One Girl

3. You Brought A New Kind Of Love To Me

4. Quand Un Vicomte

5. Valentine

6. Louise

7. Ma Pomme

8. Donnez-Moi La Main, Mam’zelle

9. Le Chapeau De Zozo

10. What Would You Do?

11. Tzinga-Doodle-Day

12. Paris Stay The Same

13. The Rhythm Of The Rain

14. My Love Parade

15. Wait ‘Til You See “Ma Chérie”

16. You’ve Got That Thing

17. Oh! Cette Mitzi!

18. Singing A Happy Song

x

Track List: Mr. Paree, Himself

x

Track List: Maurice Chevalier: Essentials

1. Prosper

2. La Chapeau De Zozo

3. Ma Pomme

4. Dites Moi Ma Mere

5. Mimile

6. Ca Sent Si Bon La France

7. La Chanson Du Maçon

8. Ça S'est Passe Un Dimanche

9. Partout, C'est L'amour

10. Appelez Ça Comme Vous Le Voulez

11. Ça Fait D'excellents Français

12. Fleur De Paris

13. Donnez-Moi La Main

14. Paris Sera Toujours Paris

15. Notre Espoir

16. Quand Un Vicomte

17. Y'a D'la Joie

x

Track List: Cafe De Paris - Maurice Chevalier

1. Mimi

2. Prosper

3. My Ideal

4. All I Want Is Just One Girl

5. Paris Sera Toujours Paris

7. Oh That Mitzi

8. Fleur De Paris

9. I Was Lucky

10. Livin' In The Sunlight Lovin' In The Moonlight

11. Louise

12. Ma Pomme

13. Mon Vieux Paris

14. Moonlight Saving Time

15. My Love Paradise

16. Oui Papa (Everybody Loves My Girl)

17. Place Pigalle

18. You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth

19. Quand On Est Tout Seul

20. Ah Si Vous Connaissiez Ma Poule

21. Paris Stay The Same

22. La Choupetta

23. Oh Maurice

24. Quand Un Vicomte

25. Rhythm Of The Rain

26. Mimile

27. You Brought A New Kind Of Love To Me

x

Track List: Valentine

1. Valentine

2. Quand Un Vicomte

3. Prosper, Yop La Boum!

4. Donnez-Moi La Main, Mam'Zelle

5. Ma Pomme

6. Le Chapeau De Zozo

7. Ah! Si Vous Connaissiez Ma Poule

8. Un P'tit Air

9. Appelez Ca Comme Vous Voulez

10. Ca Fait D'Excellents Francais

11. Paris Sera Toujours Paris

12. Ca S'Est Passe Un Dimanche

13. Dites-Moi Ma Mere

14. La Choupetta

15. Ca Sent Si Bon La France

16. La Chanson Du Macon

17. Marche De Menilmontant

18. Fleur De Paris

x

Track List: The Immortal Maurice Chevalier

1. Louise

2. Mimi

3. Moi Avec Une Chanson

4. Un Clochard M'a Dit

5. Contre L'Amour Y'a Rien A Faire

6. Valentino

7. Momes De Mon Quartier

8. Vous Ne Direz Pas Toujours Non

9. Le Chapeau De Zozo

Comments

Report as inappropriate
cochran.will i e
Beautiful. I love French music.
Report as inappropriate
jcamiredo
I have enjoyed Maurice Chavalier's music for years. Plus, he reminds me so much of my grandfather with his voice and accented English.
Report as inappropriate
Maurice Chevalier was most definitely one-of-a-kin d !
In "Gigi" he is so debonair and charming; they don't make um like him anymore....
Report as inappropriate
doyle.riggan
I heard Thanks Heaven for Little Girls on "Nancy for Frank" on XM Satellite Radio and fell in love with the song. We're playing at our daughter's wedding.
Report as inappropriate
Ah...thank heaven for little girls
Report as inappropriate
jtr44
Tops to say the least

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