Marcel Marceau, the world's best-known mime artist, has died at the age of 84, media reports said Sunday.
"He died yesterday evening," his daughter Camille said Sunday. Funeral arrangements were not immediately known.
For decades, Marceau, whose real name was Marcel Mangel, epitomized the silent art, eliciting laughter and tears from audiences around the globe.
He was single-handedly responsible for reviving the art of mime after World War II, after two decades of being eclipsed by the silent movie, dominated by the genius of Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton or Laurel and Hardy.
In 1947, Marceau created the figure of Bip, a sad, white-faced clown in a striped jumper and a battered silk opera hat, and became became internationally famous.
He formed his own mime company in 1948, and the troupe was soon touring other European countries, presenting mime dramas. The company failed financially in 1959, but was revived as a school, the Ecole Internationale de Mimodrame, in 1984.
Prime Minister Francois Fillon praised Marceau as "the master," saying he had the rare gift of "being able to communicate with each and everyone beyond the barriers of language."
(Agencies via Xinhua September 24, 2007)