Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Casbah

The dashing fellow above is on Charles Boyer, and today is NOT his birthday, but with the dearth of actual heroes born on today's date, and since I am getting old of writing the "no hero of the day post", I decided to pull M. Boyer out of the past and celebrate today as his birthday. Our 143rd hero of the day was born August 28th, 1899 in Midi-Pyrenees, France. He moved to Paris from the small town of his birth in order to continue his education, but he found the call of the theatre too much to deny, and began taking small acting parts. He had a few decent roles, and had been signed to a contract before 1929, but it was in 1938's "Algiers" as the thief Pepe le Moko (where in the trailer for the film he invited Hedy Lamarr to "come with me to the Casbah") that gets him on the hero board for me. This line would stick with him for years, thanks mainly to imitators, and that his character in the movie became the basis for the Looney Tune character Pepe le Pew. He was nominated for an Oscar four times, but never won. One of those nominations was for 1944's "Gaslight" co-starring another hero(ine) Ingrid Bergman. It is a fantastic film, and he gives a fantastic performance. In contrast to his on screen image of a suave, dashing, rake, Boyer began losing his hair early, and was, by all accounts, a bookish reserved man in real life. He spoke five languages and was married only once, and it lasted 44 years. Near the end of his career he recorded an album of love songs that were merely spoken by him in his deep, distinctive voice with his rich French accent. It was reportedly Elvis Presley's favourite album during the last 11 years of the king's life. No bad for a romantic actor with a receding hairline, and a pot belly. That 44 year marriage was truly the "death do us part" type, and Boyer committed suicide two days after his wife's death from cancer, and two days before his own 79th birthday in 1978. But, for making a line famous that he never spoke in the actual movie, and being one suave son of a bitch, Charles Boyer (August 28th, 1899- August 26th, 1978, at the age of 78), you are my (substitute) hero of the day.

1 comment:

Cynnie said...

i love this man ..