Georges Guétary

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Georges Guétary
Georges Guétary.jpg
Georges Guétary
Born Lambros Vorlow (Worloou)
February 8, 1915
Alexandria, Egypt
Died September 13, 1997 (82)
Mougins (Alpes-Maritimes), France
Spouse(s) Janine Guyon

Georges Guétary, born Lambros Worloou (pronounced Vorlow, February 8, 1915 – September 13, 1997) was a French singer, dancer, cabaret performer and film actor, best known for his role in the 1951 musical An American in Paris.

Early life and career[edit]

Guétary was born in Alexandria, Egypt to Greek parents. His father was a textile executive. He studied music in Egypt and in Paris, and made his stage debut in 1937. He performed as a singer and dancer with the famed chanteuse Mistinguett at the Casino de Paris.[1]

The British newspaper The Independent said at the time of his death that "part of Guétary's exotic charm, and much of his stage persona as a 'Latin lover' with a voice of Creme Chantilly resided in his mischievous innocence combined with an erotic mystery inherent in his ancestry."[1]

His first film appearance was in the musical Quand le cœur chante (1938). He also appeared many times at the Théâtre du Châtelet and in numerous other French motion picture and TV films.[2]

He changed his name during World War II, to forestall scrutiny from German occupiers who were deporting foreigners to concentration camps. Guétary became a French citizen in 1950.[2]

After the war, Guétary appeared on stage in London and New York. He received critical praise for his performance in London opposite Lizbeth Webb in the 1947 operetta Bless the Bride, which ran for nearly a thousand performances.[1]

On Broadway, Guétary appeared in Arms and the Girl with Nanette Fabray in 1950. He received a Tony Award for Best Foreign Performer.[1]

An American in Paris and afterwards[edit]

Guétary was best known in the United States for his performance as Henri Baurel in An American in Paris, in which he plays a friend, and unknowing romantic rival, of the American painter Jerry Mulligan, played by Gene Kelly. In the film, Guétary plays an aging cabaret performer who is in love with a young girl played by Leslie Caron.[3] She falls in love with Mulligan.

Guétary (left) and Kelly agree that "s'wonderful" to be in love. A pensive Oscar Levant is not so sure.

Kelly was nearly three years older than Guétary,[4] and the role was originally intended for the much older Maurice Chevalier, who turned down the part.[3] Kelly's biographer, Clive Hirschhorn, said that Kelly recruited Guétary for the part even though he knew that Guétary was too young.[5] In its review, however, Variety said that Guétary was "cast neatly as the older man."[3]

In the film, Guétary was noted for a solo number in which he strides on a "stairway to paradise." He also appears with Kelly in a rendition of 'S Wonderful, in which both sing, without the other knowing it, about their love for Caron. At the end of the film, the object of their affection, Caron, chooses to go with Kelly despite her affection for Guétary.

Guétary returned to the stage and to French films following his appearance in American in Paris. In 1958 he appeared on Broadway in the musical Portofino. New York Times critic Brooks Atkinson said he was "the kissingest philanderer the season has produced."[2]

Guétary was married to Janine Guyon, a producer in French television. They had two children.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Kirkup, James (1997-09-20). "Obituary: Georges Guetary". The Independent. Retrieved 2009-07-22. 
  2. ^ a b c d Van Gelder, Lawrence (1997-09-20). "Georges Guetary, 82, Suave French Singer, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-07-22. 
  3. ^ a b c "An American in Paris". Variety. 1951-08-29. Retrieved 2009-07-22. 
  4. ^ "Eugene Curran Kelly was born on Aug. 23, 1912, in Pittsburgh." Krebs, Albin (1996-02-03). "Gene Kelly, Dancer of Vigor and Grace, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-07-22. 
  5. ^ Hirschhorn, Clive (1984). Gene Kelly: a biography. New York: St. Martin's Press. p. 198. ISBN 978-0-312-31802-4. 

External links[edit]