An actor-turned-singer who sold more than 180 million records over the span of his career, becoming known as the French Frank Sinatra and beating out Sinatra, Elvis Presley and others to be named the Entertainer of the Century, has died.
According to media reports, Charles Aznavour died at his home in Alpille in the southeast of France. He was 94.
“An actor-turned-singer, he epitomized the French chansonnier and became known as France’s answer to Frank Sinatra,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. “His songs were half-sung, half-spoken acclamations of love. A popular-song stylistic, Aznavour was a charismatic stage presence, despite his 5-foot 3-inch height and pedestrian appearance. He headlined at such Parisian venues as the Olympia and was very popular with international audiences.
“In 2005, he was chosen as Entertainer of the Century in an online poll conducted by Time magazine, topping such superstars as Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra.”
Best known for his 1974 hit “She,” Aznavour received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2017.
“The singer was born in Paris in 1924 to Armenian parents who fled the country’s genocide to begin a new life in the French capital,” BBC News reports. “Aznavour’s lyrics drew on his own experiences of growing up in deprivation as an immigrant.”
The BBC report adds: “The singer was due to take on a seven-date tour across France and Switzerland, starting in November this year. He had recently returned from a tour in Japan, having been forced to cancel concerts this summer due to a broken arm.”
Aznavour reportedly recorded more than 1,200 songs in seven different languages.