Charles Aznavour (Շառլ Ազնավուր; born May 22, 1924) is a French-Armenian singer and songwriter.
Aznavour was born Shahnour Varenagh Aznavourian in Paris, the son of Armenian immigrants. At an early age, his artistic parents introduced him to the world of theatre.
One of France's most popular and enduring singers, he began to perform by age nine and soon took the stage name Aznavour. His big break came when the singer Edith Piaf heard him sing and arranged to take him with her on tour in France and to the United States.
Often described as the "Frank Sinatra of France", almost all of Aznavour's songs deal with love. He has written more than a thousand songs as well as musicals, made more than one hundred records, and has played in sixty movies. Aznavour sings in five languages and is the most well-known French singer abroad, performing at Carnegie Hall and other major venues around the world.
In 1996 Charles Aznavour was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
A lover of Quebec, he helped the career of Quebecois chansonnier Lynda Lemay in France, and has a house in Montreal.
Aznavour starred in the 2002 movie Ararat playing Edward Saroyan, a movie director.
Honors in Armenia
Aznavour Reveals Armenian Job Offer
By Diego Karamanukian
Charles Aznavour, the world-famous French singer of Armenian descent, has revealed that he was offered to become Armenia’s ambassador to Switzerland and nearly agreed to take up the vacant post.
“The president of Armenia once offered me to become Armenia’s ambassador in Geneva,” Aznavour told the Spanish daily El Pais in an interview published at the weekend. “I felt very proud and happy on that day. But then I figured that if I accept the offer I will lose my freedom.”
“If don’t like a decision taken by the Armenian government I will feel bad,” he said. “I can’t lose my freedom for an honorable post.”
President Serzh Sarkisian granted Armenian citizenship to Aznavour in late December. The Swiss-based singer already received Armenia’s highest state award, the title of “national hero,” in 2004 in recognition of his long-standing support for the country of his ancestors. A square in downtown Yerevan was named after him in 2001.
Aznavour, 84, is one of the most renowned members of France’s influential Armenian community. He was at the forefront of the community’s efforts to help victims of the catastrophic 1988 earthquake that devastated much of northern Armenia.