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Born in Paris to an Armenian family, sad-eyed, sinewy singer/composer Charles Aznavour started performing as a dancer at age nine. During the 1950s, Aznavour rose to stardom as a soulful interpreter of melancholy romance ballads. Many filmgoers assume that his film debut was as the gangster-obsessed musician in Truffaut's Shoot the Piano Player (1962), but in fact Aznavour made his first film, Le Tete Contre les Murs, in 1959. Many of his movie roles have been in the same noirish vein as his Piano Player performance; in the 1975 remake of Ten Little Indians, he was on screen only long enough to brood over his miserable past and sing a sad refrain before he is poisoned. Busy in films as both performer and composer into the late 1980s, Aznavour is the sort of wordly, hard-shelled performer who'd seem naked without a cigarette dangling from his lips and a half-consumed drink on the top of the piano.

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