The Quotable Marcel Marceau

Photo of Culture Trip
10 January 2017

France’s beloved Marcel Marceau was the master of silence in his mesmerizing mime act, but offstage he had important things to say. Here are some of his most inspiring quotes.

Born into a Jewish family in 1922, Marcel was the eldest of two sons. When France entered World War II, his family was forced to flee to Limoges for protection, where he and his brother, Alain changed their last name to ‘Marceau’.

Marcel’s wish to become an actor began during his childhood when he saw Charlie Chaplin on the big screen. He enrolled in acting school after the war ended. On graduating, he was cast as Arlequin (Harlequin) in the pantomime Baptiste. His performance was a success and sealed his future as a star. Now get a sample of his wisdom.

“Music and silence combine strongly because music is done with silence, and silence is full of music.”

© Culture Trip / Remy Millar

“What sculptors do is represent the essence of gesture. What is important in mime is attitude.”

© Culture Trip / Remy Millar

“In silence and movement you can show the reflection of people.”

© Culture Trip / Remy Millar

“Do not the most moving moments of our lives find us without words?”

© Culture Trip / Remy Millar

“Never get a mime talking. He won’t stop.”

© Culture Trip / Remy Millar

“Sometimes it’s good to shut up.”


“A magician makes the visible invisible. A mime makes the invisible visible.”

© Culture Trip / Remy Millar

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