“Who’s that mime?” is likely what many Google users are asking today when accessing the search engine.
Instead of seeing the colorful logo, March 22′s illustration featured a mime standing in place of the “L” in Google. Click on the logo and you’ll learn that Google celebrated the 100th birthday of French mime and actor Marcel Marceau.
Referred to as a master of silence by Google, Marceau was born in 1923 in Strasbourg, France with the last name Mangel. He grew up watching silent films and entertaining friends by impersonating actors and mimes. Mangel changed his name to Marceau after Nazi Germany occupied France, so as to avoid being identified as Jewish.
During World War II, Marceau used his miming skills to keep children quiet while making several trips to smuggle Jewish children out of the fascists’ hands and into Switzerland, treks that saved 70 children, according to Google. Marceau’s father was deported to Auschwitz and killed in 1944, according to IMDb. That same year, Marceau’s first big performance was to 3,000 troops after Paris was liberated.
He returned to Paris after the war and studied at the School of Dramatic Art of the Sarah Bernhardt Theatre. Marceau started performing as Bip the Clown, dressed in striped clothes and black and white makeup in 1947. Then he founded the Compagnie de Mime Marcel Marceau, “the only pantomime company in the world at the time, to develop the art of silence,” Google said.
Marceau performed in film and on television across the globe, eventually winning an Emmy for Best Specialty Act for his 1956 appearance on the “Max Liebman Show of Shows.” He performed as Scrooge in “Marcel Marceau: A Christmas Carol” in 1973, and three years later spoke the word “non” in Mel Brooks’ “Silent Movie,” breaking the silence of his long-running career in silent roles.
He continued to work into the early 2000s, serving as the UN Goodwill Ambassador at the international conference on aging in Madrid, according to IMDb. Marceau died in France on Sept. 23, 2007.
“Happy birthday, Marcel Marceau, you specialized in silence but continue to leave audiences roaring with laughter,” Google said.
Below its biography of Marceau, Google showed the doodle’s reach in France, Germany, Austria, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Iceland and the United States. Further below were multiple doodles also used for March 22 over the years, including for Turkish aviator Sabiha Gökçen and Malaysian director P. Ramlee’s birthdays, along with the 2015 French Elections, among others.