Marcel Marceau was a French actor and mime most famous for his stage persona as "Bip the Clown." He referred to mime as the "art of silence," and he performed professionally worldwide for over 60 years. As a youth, he lived in hiding and worked with the French Resistance during most of World War II, giving his first major performance to 3000 troops after the liberation of Paris in August 1944. Following the war, he studied dramatic art and mime in Paris.
In 1959 he established his own pantomime school in Paris, and subsequently set up the Marceau Foundation to promote the art in the U.S. Among his various awards and honors, he was made "Grand Officier de la Légion d'Honneur" and was awarded the National Order of Merit in France. He won the Emmy Award for his work on television, was elected member of the Academy of Fine Arts in Berlin, and was declared a "National treasure" in Japan. He was friends with Michael Jackson for nearly 20 years, and Jackson said he would use some of Marceau's techniques in his own dance steps.