Charles Aznavour

Charles Aznavour
Charles Aznavour May 1963.jpg
Aznavour in 1963
Shahnour Varinag Aznavourian

(1924-05-22)22 May 1924
Died1 October 2018(2018-10-01) (aged 94)
Burial placeMontfort-l'Amaury (Yvelines), France
  • Singer-lyricist
  • actor
  • public activist
  • diplomat
Years active1933–2018
Micheline Rugel
(m. 1946; div. 1952)

Evelyne Plessis
(m. 1956; div. 1960)

Ulla Thorsell
(m. 1967)
Children5, including Seda Aznavour
AwardsLegion of Honour (1997, 2001 and 2004)
See Awards and recognition
Musical career

Charles Aznavour (ʊər/; born Shahnour Vaghinag Aznavourian, Armenian: Շահնուր Վաղինակ Ազնավուրյան; 22 May 1924 – 1 October 2018)[1][A] was a French-Armenian[4] singer, lyricist, and diplomat. Aznavour was known for his distinctive tenor[5] voice: clear and ringing in its upper reaches, with gravelly and profound low notes. In a composer/singer/songwriter career spanning over 70 years, he recorded more than 1,200 songs interpreted in nine languages.[6] Moreover, he wrote or co-wrote more than 1,000 songs for himself and others.

Aznavour was one of France's most popular and enduring singers.[7][8] He sold 180 million records[9][10][11][12] during his lifetime and was dubbed France's Frank Sinatra,[13][14] while music critic Stephen Holden described Aznavour as a "French pop deity".[15] He was also arguably the most famous Armenian of his time.[7][16] In 1998, Aznavour was named Entertainer of the Century by CNN and users of Time Online from around the globe. He was recognized as the century's outstanding performer, with nearly 18% of the total vote, edging out Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan.[17] Jean Cocteau said: "Before Aznavour, despair was unpopular".[18]

Aznavour sang for presidents, popes and royalty, as well as at humanitarian events. In response to the 1988 Armenian earthquake, he founded the charitable organization Aznavour for Armenia along with his long-time friend impresario Levon Sayan. In 2009, he was appointed ambassador of Armenia to Switzerland, as well as Armenia's permanent delegate to the United Nations at Geneva.[19]

He started his last world tour in 2014. On 24 August 2017, Aznavour was awarded the 2,618th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Later that year, he and his sister were awarded the Raoul Wallenberg Award for sheltering Jews during World War II. His last concert took place in NHK Hall in Osaka on 19 September 2018.[20]

Early life and family

Aznavour was born at the clinic Tarnier at 89, rue d'Assas in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, 6th arrondissement of Paris, into a family of artists living on rue Monsieur-le-Prince.[21] He was named Shahnour (or Chahnour)[2] Vaghinag (Vaghenagh)[3] Aznavourian[1] (Armenian: Շահնուր Վաղինակ Ազնավուրեան), by his parents, Armenian immigrants Michael Aznavourian (from Akhaltsikhe, Georgia)[1][22] and Knar Baghdasarian, an Armenian from Smyrna (present-day İzmir, Turkey).[23][24] His father sang in restaurants in France before establishing a Caucasian restaurant called Le Caucase. Charles's parents introduced him to performing at an early age, and he dropped out of school at age nine, and took the stage name "Aznavour".[25]

World War II

During the German occupation of France during World War II, Aznavour and his family hid “a number of people who were persecuted by the Nazis, while Charles and his sister Aida were involved in rescue activities.” Their work was recognized in a statement issued in 2017 by Reuven Rivlin, President of Israel. That year, Aznavour and Aida received the Raoul Wallenberg Award for their wartime activities. "The Aznavours were closely linked to the Missak Manouchian Resistance Group and in this context they have offered shelter to Armenians, Jews and others at their own Paris flat, risking their own lives."[26][27]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Charles Aznavour
Alemannisch: Charles Aznavour
العربية: شارل أزنافور
asturianu: Charles Aznavour
Aymar aru: Charles Aznavour
azərbaycanca: Şarl Aznavur
башҡортса: Шарль Азнавур
беларуская: Шарль Азнавур
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Шарль Азнавур
български: Шарл Азнавур
brezhoneg: Charles Aznavour
čeština: Charles Aznavour
Ελληνικά: Σαρλ Αζναβούρ
Esperanto: Charles Aznavour
français: Charles Aznavour
hornjoserbsce: Charles Aznavour
Bahasa Indonesia: Charles Aznavour
interlingua: Charles Aznavour
Basa Jawa: Charles Aznavour
Kreyòl ayisyen: Charles Aznavour
latviešu: Šarls Aznavūrs
Lëtzebuergesch: Charles Aznavour
lietuvių: Charles Aznavour
македонски: Шарл Азнавур
Nederlands: Charles Aznavour
Plattdüütsch: Charles Aznavour
português: Charles Aznavour
Runa Simi: Charles Aznavour
Simple English: Charles Aznavour
slovenčina: Charles Aznavour
slovenščina: Charles Aznavour
ślůnski: Charles Aznavour
српски / srpski: Шарл Азнавур
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Charles Aznavour
українська: Шарль Азнавур
Tiếng Việt: Charles Aznavour
粵語: 阿茲納弗