Félix Mayol (18 November 1872 – 26 October 1941) was a French singer and entertainer.
Mayol was born in Toulon, France. His parents were both amateur singers and actors, who arranged for Felix to make his debut stage at six years of age.
In 1895 he went to Paris and the Montparnasse Quarter where he began a career in entertainment that spanned more than forty years. He adopted a camp and effeminate manner on stage as part of his theatrical persona.
He sang the famous song "Viens poupoule, viens poupoule, viens...", and performed many songs by Théodore Botrel.
In the early years of the 20th century some of Mayol's performances were captured by an early form of talking picture. He would record his voice, then the motion picture camera would film him as he lip-synced to the record. Several of his Phonoscènes exist.
The teenage Maurice Chevalier took a risk by impersonating Mayol in small-time cafe entertainments, Mayol recognised the young man's talent and gave him his blessing. It led Chevalier to the Casino de Paris and the Folies Bergère.
Shortly after World War I, he purchased a plot of land in Toulon and donated it to the local sports club, RC Toulonnais, for the building of a stadium. The facility, named Stade Mayol in his honor, remains in use today (after several renovations) as the home ground for the Toulon rugby team.
Mayol never married, and many stories circulated of his homosexual liaisons, including an attempt to seduce Maurice Chevalier. His brother Charles Mayol founded a music publishing company to print his works.
- Michael Freedland, Maurice Chevalier, Morrow, 1981, p.28.
- Hugh MacDiarmid, Selected essays of Hugh MacDiarmid, University of California Pres, 1970, p.106.
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