Monday, January 5, 2015

Charlie Rivel

Josep Andreu i Lasserre (April 23, 1896 – July 26, 1983), best known as Charlie Rivel, was an internationally known Catalan circus clown. He was born in Cubelles (Catalonia). His parents Pere Andreu Pausas (Catalan) and Marie-Louise Lasarre (French) were circus artists as well.

He debuted when he was three and formed the group Los Rivels with his brothers Polo Rivel and René Rivel. He took his artistic first name from Charlie Chaplin whom he encountered first in 1910. Each respected the other. Legend has that Chaplin later asked him: "Is it you who imitate me or I who imitate you?"

At the start of the Second World War he discovered his definitive routine, featuring a chair, a guitar and a long jersey. During the war he stayed two years in Nazi Germany where a film (Akrobat schö-ö-ö-n, 1943) about his life was produced. The theater play by Gerard Vàzquez Uuuuh! is based on that time. He was a big admirer of Adolf Hitler, to whom he sent birthday greetings as late as 1943.

In 1954 he returned to Barcelona where he became the star of Circo Price. His routine of the ululating clown is still remembered. In 1971, he appeared in Federico Fellini's film Clowns
 Picture of monument of Charlie Rivel by Liseberg in Göteborg

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