Marcel Marceau was a French pantomime who gained global fame performing as Bip the Clown. The image of a slender white-faced man, wearing a stovepipe hat with a flower, standing in the spotlight on an empty stage, and delivering a silent yet engrossing performance is imprinted in the minds of the audiences who watched Marceau’s craft.
Marceau’s miming made him famous everywhere, as language didn’t matter. “Because he [Bip] speaks with the gestures and movements of the body, everyone knows what is happening to him and he is popular everywhere – Scandinavia, Germany, Holland, Belgium, Italy, Austria, wherever he has traveled,” Marceau said.
Marcel Marceau reportedly died of a heart attack following a long illness
Marcel Marceau died in September 2007, aged 84. Alexander Neander, Marceau’s personal assistant, announced that Marceau died in a retirement home in France.
Marceau’s family kept the details of his death under wraps; therefore, Marceau’s cause of death is a mystery. Unconfirmed reports state that Marceau died of a cardiac arrest following a long illness.
Marceau toured for most of the year, averaging 200 shows annually since 1946. He talked to The UNESCO Courier about living a healthy life:
“Although I am over seventy, I still find time to enjoy life. I also stick to a healthy diet, not eating much and not drinking alcohol. Age means different things to different people, that’s all there is to it!”
Two minutes of silence were fittingly observed during Marceau’s simple burial ceremony. Bip’s trademark floppy hat rested near his flag-draped coffin as the Rabbi noted that Marceau died on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. Marceau was buried in Paris at Pere Lachaise Cemetery.