Saturday, June 6, 2015

Are You Being Served? Andre Charisse….Day 157 of Bond 365

Happy Saturday! It’s a sunny afternoon in SoCal as I prepare to attend a book launch party this evening. I decided to write this entry with a bit of a creative flair – enjoy!

Andre Charisse
Andre Charisse
Born this day in 1910
Hotel Concierge in From Russia With Love
French Customs Official in Casino Royale (1967)

It was a new decade in Paris, known as the City of Lights, and truly a new era filled with the wonders of modern invention. Andre Charisse (aka Charissi) was born amongst this wonderment and witnessed the growth of a young cinema that was filled with magic. But soon war broke out; it was a brutal war that left nations with shell-shock and broken men to wander the urban landscape that was perpetually in flux.

One lesson of war: life was short and in the interwar years of the 1920s was punctuated with excess and abandonment of the social mores that had governed the generation before. It was a pause, all to brief really, before the darkness came once again and any innocence was lost.

There was little to be found about Charisse. One can only speculate that he must have been impacted by the two wars he experienced during his youth. As such, he did not arrive on celluloid until 1949. He was cast as a “Young Man” (uncredited at that) in Vincente Minnelli’s Madame Bovary, which starred Jennifer Jones and James Mason. I have to wonder how Charisse ended up in American films – was he an expatriate? Why did he start acting? And rather late, at the age of 39? There are many questions and no immediate answers.

Charisse had 57 credits to his name, however he may be missing at least one. While he is listed in From Russia With Love, his part as a customs official in the 1967 version of Casino Royale is not. In any case, it seems as though he was often case as a server/servant role throughout his acting career that spanned the silver screen and the small screen. His last role was in 1975 when he made a guest appearance as M. Fleuriau in the very popular British television series Upstairs, Downstairs. Charisse seemed to have retired from the public, and in 2004, at the age of 94, he passed away in London.

© Copyright. Michele Brittany. 2011 - 2015. All rights reserved. All text, graphics, and photos are protected by US and International Copyright Laws, and may not be copied, reprinted, published, translated, hosted, or otherwise distributed by any means without written permission.

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