In 1946, two years after his father died in a concentration camp, Marceau attended the Dullin School of Dramatic Art, where he was introduced to mime. He began to perfect a distinct, accessible style, and his popularity grew quickly. His most famous character, Bip, was modeled after Charlie Chaplin's Little Tramp.
By the 1950s, Marceau was known widely in America, thanks to TV appearances, and for the rest of the century he remained the art form's most celebrated practitioner and teacher. He died on Sept. 22, 2007, at age 84.