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Maurice Chevalier: His Life 1888 - 1972 was Harding's second biography set against the backdrop of early 20th century French theatre.
Reviews of Maurice Chevalier
'He loves and understands France...It must be one of the best light biographies we have had in years.' David Lancaster, Literary Review







The book
Maurice Chevalier (1888 - 1972) rose to become the world's best-loved and highest-paid entertainer by a route that was both romantic and entertaining.  Harding's fascinating biography traces the development of the young Chevalier as he absorbed the techniques of performers like Félix Mayol, Harry Fragson, Max Dearly, George Robey and George Grossmith, his apprenticeship completed by his tempestuous affair with the legendary Mistinguett.  Thereafter he went to Hollywood and became an international star of a magnitude unknown until then.  Harding's full and authoritative biography draws on unpublished material from Chevalier's intimate associates to evoke unforgettably the world of French music-hall and Hollywood at its zenith.  The pages glitter with colourful personalities like Ernst Lubitsch, Edith Piaf, Adolph Zukor, Jack Buchanan, Erich von Stroheim, Charles Aznavour and, above all, Mistinguett, impossible in her triumphant prime and defiant in her ravaged old age.   
The man
Chevalier was born in a Paris slum on the same day the Eiffel Tower was illuminated for the first time; between them they were to symbolize the city for generations throughout the world.  Brought up in extreme poverty by his beloved mother, he made his professional début at the age of twelve, singing obscene songs to café audiences of pimps and prostitutes.  From these humble beginnings he embarked upon a career which lasted sixty-eight years and embraced the great days of the French music-hall, the flowering of nineteen-twenties musical comedy, the golden age of Hollywood and the era of television.  In Hollywood he became an international star, admired by millions for such classic films as The Love Parade, Love Me Tonight and The Merry Widow.  In his seventies he started a new career in the cinema, which culminated in his most famous film, Gigi.