Marcel Marceau died in Paris on Saturday. His was a special kind of art: the expression of drama, comedy, tragedy, whimsy and more, all through movement. As the world's most famous mime, Marceau "spoke'' with an eloquence that transcended the words of any particular language and was, therefore, understood by all. Bip, his agile alter-ego, appeared in movies, on Broadway, on television. Marceau didn't need words; in a piece called "Youth, Maturity, Old Age, Death," he conveyed the cycle of life in a matter of minutes.
When he spoke as himself, the man born in 1923 as Marcel Mangel could be just as moving. His father Charles was a butcher and sometime baritone who died at Auschwitz. Marceau was active in the French Resistance, helping to save countless Jewish children. In 2000, he said of the ones who weren't saved: "Among those kids was maybe an Einstein, a Mozart, somebody who [would have] found a cancer drug. That is why we have a great responsibility. Let us love one another."
One of Marceau's most priceless performances was in the 1976 Mel Brooks film Silent Movie. Just one word of dialogue was spoken in the film. Guess who got it?
Au revoir to a masterful mime and an extraordinary man.