Music hall star known for his many hits like Bleu, blanc, blond, singer Marcel Amont died on Wednesday March 8 at the age of 93, according to a statement from his family sent to Agence France-Presse. . The leaping artist and whimsical showman, with a 75-year career, died at his home in Saint-Cloud, near Paris, said the same source.
Born Marcel Balthazar Miramon on April 1, 1929 in Bordeaux, he was the only son of Modeste Miramon and Romélie Lamazou. His Béarn parents, "immigrants from the interior", had left the Aspe valley to become a railway employee and nurse's aide.
Athlete, teaser, very popular with his classmates, student Miramon first set his mind to be a gymnastics teacher or an actor after his baccalaureate. He chooses the theatre. Registered at the Bordeaux Conservatory of Dramatic Arts, he plays small roles on stage while performing with a singing tour in the halls of the region.
His notoriety explodes
He shortened his surname, became Amont to "look more chic", and moved to Paris in 1951 where he decided to try his luck. He scoured the small rooms there, met Jacques Brel at the Patachou cabaret, met Aznavour (“Between the two of us, the current passes immediately”) and Brassens (“He called me counifle, couillon, what.”). With these three artists, he binds an unfailing friendship.
He ended up being spotted in 1953 by Jean Nohain, who recruited him into his troupe and regularly featured him in his television program "36 candles". But in 1954, the singer fell seriously ill and left to be treated in a sanatorium. He is replaced by a beginner, Fernand Raynaud.
Back, the year 1956 made him a star. He moved to the Alhambra, then was hired at the Olympia as a curtain raiser for Edith Piaf. During these five weeks, his notoriety exploded. He then goes on every day in three different places in the capital. He continues to Bobino, the large music hall on the left bank. Having become the revelation of the year, he recorded a disc in public, in the company of Juliette Gréco and Serge Gainsbourg, crowned by the Grand Prix of the Charles-Cros Academy.
Success also opened the doors of the cinema to him, starting in 1957, alongside Brigitte Bardot, in the role of a reporter-photographer in The Bride was too beautiful, by Pierre Gaspard-Huit. In 1961, All Soft All Slowly was his first big hit. In 1962, Bleu blanc blond, then Le Mexicain, a song written by Charles Aznavour, were huge successes.
Claude Nougaro composed several titles for him, and Marcel Amont recorded in 1962 a 45-rpm in the Béarnaise language, to please his parents. “I am a French-speaking singer, but Bearnese is the language that speaks to my heart. Passionate about aviation, he then passed his pilot's license to fly from town to town during his tours in France.
"Old fashioned in my own country"
A pioneer in France, he innovated in 1965 on the stage of the Olympia by having dancers evolve around him for the first time. From 1970, he added stuntmen and giant screens to his show. On October 1, 1967, under the leadership of director Jean-Christophe Averty, he hosted one of the very first color television programs, "Amont Tour". He continued this television adventure with the show "Tutankhamont" in 1974.
At the bottom of the wave after the failure in 1975 of his musical Why would you sing not, his lifelong friend, Georges Brassens, offered him the song Le Chapeau de Mireille. It is a success. At the end of the 1970s, he surrounded himself with young composers such as Alain Souchon, Maxime Le Forestier, Julien Clerc, but success was no longer there. “I found myself old-fashioned in my own country. But I continued to sing in the back rooms of bistros, the villages. And abroad where I was always asked. »
He then toured Japan, the Soviet Union and Europe, singing in seven languages, including Béarn, to which he devoted a few records. Marcel Amont also embarked on writing, with the publication of a first book A song, what is inside a song? (Threshold, 1994).
This crossing of the musical desert ended in 2006 with the publication of a jazz disc, Décalage temps, dotted with duets with Didier Lockwood and Agnès Jaoui in particular. A Critical Success. He returned to L'Olympia, nearly fifty years after his first visit, then, between 2008 and 2010, participated with former glories of French song in the "Tender Age" tour.
Continuing to write, he also released in 2018, at almost 90 years old, a new album, Over the shoulder, where he resumed his successes in duet with some of his authors, including Charles Aznavour, Alain Souchon, Francis Cabrel… This eternal hyperactive continues his tours, he who likes to say: "If I don't get excited, I die." »
April 1, 1929 Born in Bordeaux.
1956 Opening act for Edith Piaf at the Olympia.
1962 Song "The Mexican".
1975 Song "Le Chapeau de Mireille".
2018 Release of the disc "Over the shoulder".
March 8, 2023 Died at age 93.