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charles aznavour

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French legend Charles Aznavour has died at the age of 94 at one of his homes in the south east of France, a spokesman has confirmed.

The iconic singer and songwriter had a career lasting more than 80 years.

Charles Aznavour, born to Armenian immigrants, sold more than 180 million records and featured in over 60 films.

He was best known for his 1974 hit She and was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2017. Charles Aznavour married three times and had six children.

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Charles Aznavour was named entertainer of the century by CNN in 1998.

He was born in Paris in 1924 to Armenian parents who fled the country’s genocide to begin a new life in the French capital.

Charles Aznavour’s lyrics drew on his own experiences of growing up in deprivation as an immigrant.

He was due to take on a seven-date tour across France and Switzerland, starting in November this year.

The singer had recently returned from a tour in Japan, having been forced to cancel concerts this summer due to a broken arm.

Charles Aznavour recorded more than 1,200 songs in seven different languages and performed in 94 countries.

His song She was famously performed by Elvis Costello in the opening credits of Richard Curtis’ movie Notting Hill.

Dubbed France’s Frank Sinatra, Charles Aznavour wrote his own songs on taboo subjects about marriage, gay and male expression of emotions.

His 1973 hit, What Makes a Man, was about a gay transvestite.

Still performing to packed stadiums well into his 90s, Charles Aznavour continued to write songs about his life, including his Swedish wife to celebrate 50 years of marriage.

As well as a singer, Charles Aznavour was a successful actor and played the lead in the 1960 film Shoot the Piano Player.

Charles Aznavour also appeared in the Oscar-winning The Tin Drum, playing a kindly Jewish toy seller.

He sang for presidents, popes and royal families and at a number of humanitarian events.

President Emmanuel Macron was a big fan of Charles Aznavour and sang many of his songs during karaoke nights with friends when he was a student, according to former classmates.

Charles Aznavour was heavily involved in charity work and founded an organization after the 1988 Armenian earthquake with friend Levon Sayan.

In 2009, Charles Aznavour was appointed ambassador of Armenia to Switzerland and he also became Armenia’s delegate to the UN in Geneva.


Tax policy rarely makes headlines in France, but the row between Gerard Depardieu and the government has given the issue unusual prominence in recent weeks.

Gerard Depardieu’s opposition to plans for a new 75% rate of income tax prompted him to announce last month that he was leaving the country. When Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault called the move “shabby”, the actor said he would tear up his French passport.

The row took a new twist last week, when Gerard Depardieu applied for Russian citizenship, professing his love for a “great democracy”. Russian President Vladimir Putin gave him his new passport in person at the weekend.

The very public row between a larger-than-life personality and the Socialist government has put the issue of tax exiles to the fore.

But over the years many sportsmen, entertainers and economic leaders have quietly chosen to leave France for a variety of reasons.

Switzerland – the adoptive homes of celebrities from the world over – appears to be the destination of choice for prominent French exiles.

Tax policy rarely makes headlines in France, but the row between Gerard Depardieu and the government has given the issue unusual prominence in recent weeks

Tax policy rarely makes headlines in France, but the row between Gerard Depardieu and the government has given the issue unusual prominence in recent weeks

Singer Charles Aznavour – who had public rows over taxes with French authorities in 1970s – has lived there for four decades.

Actor Alain Delon set up a luxury goods company in his name in Geneva in 1978 and acquired Swiss citizenship in 1999.

Singer Johnny Hallyday moved to the ski resort of Gstaad in 2006. Media reports suggest he is paying much less in tax in Switzerland than he would in France at the moment – let alone if he had to face a 75% rate over 1 million euros in earnings.

World rally champion Sebastien Loeb became a Swiss resident in 2003. Three years ago he gave the following reason for the move: “French taxes are huge and the career of a sportsman does not last forever.”

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, France’s top male tennis player, has resided in Switzerland since 2008, although he has not cited lower taxes as a reason for his decision.

Other past and present French tennis stars who have become Swiss residents include Guy Forget, Amelie Mauresmo, Richard Gasquet, Gilles Simon, Fabrice Santoro, Gael Montfils, Cedric Pioline, Henri Leconte, and Marion Bartoli.

French-speaking southern Belgium is favored by some. Gerard Depardieu announced he was buying a house there last month. The Meunier family, which controls Carrefour, a supermarket chain, lives just across the border from France.

Bernard Arnault, head of the luxury goods group LVMH and France’s richest man, applied for Belgian citizenship in September – although he denied that this was for tax reasons, and said he would continue to pay taxes in France.

The actor Christian Clavier, Gerard Depardieu’s fellow star in the Asterix film franchise, moved to London last year. His agent described the move as temporary and not motivated by taxes.