1924–2018, French singer, songwriter, and actor, b. Paris as Shahnourh Varinag Aznavourian. The son of ethnic Armenian refugees, he began performing while a child. Edith Piaf
made him her opening act in Paris and took him on her North American tour (1947–48). One of the most celebrated practitioners of the French chanson,
he was noted for his distinctive tenor, clear in the upper registers, raspy in the lower notes. He recorded hundreds of songs, including She, You've Let Yourself Go, Yesterday When I Was Young, Take Me Along, And I in My Chair,
and La Mamma,
and sang in French, English, Spanish, German, and Italian. A talented actor, he appeared in Shoot the Piano Player
(1960), The Tin Drum
(2002), and other films.
See collection of his song lyrics (1991); his memoirs (1972, 2003, 2012).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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