Shahnour Vaghinag Aznavourian, better known as Charles Aznavour (May 22th, 1924 – October 1st, 2018), was a French-Armenian singer, songwriter, composer, actor and activist. He was born in Paris within the Armenian diaspora that fled the genocide in the Ottoman Empire, and was granted Armenian citizenship in 2008.
He was a major figure of French Chanson, recording about 1300 songs in eight languages (including Armenian) over a career spanning 72 years. He wrote and co-wrote about 1000 songs for himself and for other prominent singers, including Édith Piaf. note
His most famous hit songs include "La Bohème", "Hier encore", "Emmenez-moi", "Non je n'ai rien oublié", "For Me Formidable", "She"... American music critic Stephen Holden called him "the divinity of French Pop music".
Aznavour also built himself a sizeable acting portofolio in about 80 movie and TV productions, which included Jean Cocteau's The Testament of Orpheus, François Truffaut's Shoot the Piano Player, Denys de La Patellière's Un Taxi Pour Tobrouk, the 1974 film version of And Then There Were None, Volker Schlöndorff's The Tin Drum and Atom Egoyan's Ararat. He also had a cameo As Himself in The Truth About Charlie and was the French voice of Carl Fredricksen in Pixar's Up.
Tropes & Trivia about his career:
- Author Avatar: The song "Je m'voyais déjà" ("I already fancied myself [on top of the poster]") is about a singer who struggles to find success. Just like Aznavour's early career in a nutshell.
- Pun: "For Me, Formidable".
- Referenced by...:
- Recurring Gundam antagonist (and franchise Breakout Character) Char Aznable got his most famous alias back in 1979 by playing with the Japanese kana transliteration of Aznavour's name; when returning to Roman letters, "Aznable" can be derived instead. As a further tribute, it's not Char's birth name, either.
- Canadian figure skater Nicolas Nadeau performed to "For Me, Formidable" for his short program during the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 competitive seasons. At the 2017 Canadian Figure Skating Championships, his exhibition number was set to "Je m'voyais déjà."
- A quest in Maldraxxus in the French version of World of Warcraft: Shadowlands is called "Je m'voyais déjà en haut de l'affiche", from the song of the same name.
- American figure skater Nathan Chen performed his short program at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics to "La Bohème" and ended up taking home the gold.
- Starving Artist: "La Bohème" which is about an old man reminiscing with nostalgia his youth as a poor artist.