Charles Aznavour, French-Armenian International Singer, Dies at 94

Beloved French-Armenian singer-songwriter, actor, and fierce proponent of the Armenian cause Charles Aznavour has died. A spokesperson told news outlets that Aznavour passed away at his home overnight in the south east of France. He was 94 years old.

Aznavour was the son of Armenian immigrants who fled the region during the Armenian Genocide. He was born Shahnour Vaghenag Aznavourian on May 22, 1924 in Paris.

World leaders join the international community in mourning Aznavour’s loss. On Twitter, French President Emmanuel Macron said he had invited Aznavour to Yerevan to perform at the Summit of la Francophonie. Translated from French, Macron wrote of Aznavour, “Deeply French, attached viscerally to its Armenian roots, recognized all over the world, Charles Aznavour will have accompanied the joys and sorrows of three generations. His masterpieces, his timbre, his unique radiance will survive for a long time.”

The international icon’s career spanned more than 80 years; he penned 1,300 songs and sold more than 180 million records. Aznavour also appeared in more than 60 films including François Truffaut’s 1960 drama Shoot the Piano Player.

But it was Aznavour’s rousing, melancholy lyrics that touched the hearts and lives of millions, many of whom are sharing their indelible memories of the entertainer today.

A master of the chanson, Aznavour sang of unrequited love and loss and tales about his life growing up in an immigrant family. But he also sang about topics that were considered taboo and unconventional at the time including homosexuality.

As a humanitarian, Aznavour was committed to the Armenian people. He spent his life advocating for Armenian Genocide recognition. After the devastating earthquake of 1988, he organized instrumental international relief efforts.

Aznavour had recently wrapped up a tour in Japan. He was scheduled to tour across France and Switzerland later this fall.

Leeza Arakelian

Leeza Arakelian

Leeza Arakelian is the assistant editor for the Armenian Weekly. She is a formally trained broadcast news writer and a graduate of UCLA and Emerson College. Leeza has written and produced for local and network television news including Boston 25 and Al Jazeera America.
Leeza Arakelian

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9 Comments

  1. A true Legend , irreplaceable. But like everything in life , it has to come to a new beginning. All what can be said , is big thank you dear Charles for all the goods times you let us all around theWorld to have for a life time . R I P .

  2. As a student of French language in high school, I discovered Charles Aznavour. Listening to music is a great way to train your ear to hear to a new language. Some melodies are still w/ me. Seeing him in person in SF was a delight, now a grand memory. A citizen of France, this favorite “Armenian son” made us all proud of our heritage.

  3. Irreplaceable human treasure, no one will be able to fill his shoes. His body should be mummified and placed in the Louvre Museum, in Paris. Au Revoir Charles, Bon Voyage and Marci for your global contribution to arts and entertainment world.

  4. Mr Aznavour was an incredible talent that cannot be matched because of the way he changed music not just in France but in the entire western world. But unfortunately he is not given enough recognition for his musical achievements.

    Conveniently, except in France, his passing is not even headline news in the USA, except for the ignorant claim that he was the “Frank Sinatra of France”. No, let me rephrase that, Frank Sinatra was the aspiring Charles Aznavour of the USA. I said aspiring, because he did not even achieve that level of Aznavour, and also cannot even be compared to the achievements of Aznavour. Sinatra was just a singer with “connections”. The most obvious difference, Aznavour WROTE songs for himself and many others (well over a thousand songs), while Sinatra sung songs others wrote, one of the most famous may I add by Avo Uvezian.

  5. Mr Hagop,
    Just to be fair, On Oct 1st, the New York Times , did provide a fair amount of coverage pertaining Mr. Aznavour’s death. Just a friendly reminder.

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