STAR OF THE WEEK - Chahnour Varinag Aznavourian aka Charles Aznavurian

DOB: May 22, 1924
Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Paris, France
Occupation: Singer-songwriter, actor, public activist, diplomat


· Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1996.
· In 1997, Aznavour received an honorary César Award.
· He has written three books, the memoirs Aznavour by Aznavour: An Autobiography (1972), the song lyrics collection Des mots à l'affiche (1991) and a second memoir Le temps des avants (2003).
· On July 5, 2008, he was invested as an honorary officer of the Order of Canada.
· Films aside, his chart-busting single She (1972-1974) went platinum in Britain. He also received 37 gold albums in all.
· On April 25, 2009, he received l'Ordre National du Québec; the highest honour bestowed by the Government of Quebec.

Interesting facts:

· His mother was a seamstress as well as an actress and his father was a baritone who sang in restaurants. Both Charles and his sister waited on tables where he performed. He delivered his first poetic recital while just a toddler. Within a few years he had developed such a passion for singing/dancing, that he sold newspapers to earn money for lessons.

· He took his first theatrical bow in the play Emil and the Detectives at the age of nine and within a few years was working as a movie extra.

· A popular performer at the Paris' Club de la Chanson, it was there that he was introduced in 1941 to the songwriter Pierre Roche. Together they developed names for themselves as a singing/writing cabaret and concert duo "Roche and Aznamour".

· Dubbed the "Frank Sinatra of France" and singing in many languages (French, English, Italian, Spanish, German, Russian, Armenian, Portuguese), his touring would include sold-out performances at Carnegie Hall (1964) and London's Albert Hall (1967).

· He wrote more than 800 songs, recorded more than 1,000 of them in French, English, German and Spanish and sold over 100 million records in all.

· At age 75, he continued to act in movies, writes songs and record. One album was entitled "Jazznavour," which featured new versions of his old classics recorded with a group of American jazz musicians.

· He is known for his songs which dramatise social issues. He has written songs about everything from AIDS and traffic accidents to divorce and weight problems.

· At the age of 9, he heard boulevardier's Maurice Chevalier's Donnez-Moi La Main Mam’zelle Et Ne Dites Rien and found his calling as a chansonnier.

· He became Armenia's ambassador to Switzerland, where he resides. He was granted Armenian citizenship in December 2008.