A moment of silence for Marcel Marceau

Marceau For 60 years, Marcel Marceau projected a moving irreverence, melancholy and humanity that transcended the need for speech. Most mimes, frankly, suck, because they have no real understanding of the motivations behind the gestures and fail to appreciate the reasons why some things are better left unsaid. Marceau’s father died at Auschwitz, and Marcel worked with the French Resistance during World War II. Apart from Charles de Gaulle, he was the most famous Frenchman of the post-war era; still cool and self-aware enough in 1976 to be the only player to speak a line in Mel Brooks’s Silent Movie. Here he is in a commercial for Black & White Scotch: selling without selling out, true to his art in the service of commerce. Marceau died over the weekend at age 84.

—Posted by David Gianatasio