Charles Aznavour passes away
French singer and songwriter Charles Aznavour has died at 94 on Sunday night at his home in Alpilles, French media has reported, citing his spokesman.
Aznavour, who was born Shahnour Varinag Aznavourian in Paris to Armenian parents, sold more than 100m records in 80 countries. With around 1,400 songs to his name – 1,300 he wrote himself – he was sometimes described as the French answer to Frank Sinatra for his stirring, melancholic style.
He left school at nine years old to become a child actor, and went on to have a successful parallel acting career, most notably appearing in Francois Truffaut’s new wave classic Tirez Sur la Pianiste, Claude Chabrol’s Les Fantômes du Chapelier, and the 1979 Oscar-winning film adaptation of Gunter Grass’s The Tin Drum.
His singing career was forged in occupied Paris during the second world war, singing in cabaret performances as his parents secretly worked with the resistance, hiding Jews, communists and others in their apartment.
He is perhaps best known for She, a 1974 romantic ballad in which Aznavour confronts the equal joy and strife in a relationship, nevertheless declaring “the meaning of my life is she”. It spent four weeks at No 1 in the UK singles chart, and was also recorded in French, German, Italian and Spanish. The song got a second lease of life when it was covered by Elvis Costello for the soundtrack to the 1999 film Notting Hill, reaching No 19 in the UK, the Guardian reported.
In 2009 he was appointed ambassador of Armenia to Switzerland and he also became Armenia's delegate to the United Nations in Geneva. In 2017 Aznavour was awarded his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.