René Angélil

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René Angélil

Photograph of René Angélil. Depicting his head an upper torso, the man has a bald head, tanned skin, and grey goatee beard and moustache. He is wearing spectacles, white shirt with purple necktie, and a pinstriped suit jacket.
Angélil in 2009
Born(1942-01-16)16 January 1942
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Died14 January 2016(2016-01-14) (aged 73)
Resting placeNotre Dame des Neiges Cemetery, Montréal
  • Talent manager
  • record producer
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • businessman
Years active1961–2016
Denyse Duquette
(m. 1966; div. 1972)
(m. 1974; div. 1985)
(m. 1994)

René Angélil CM OQ (French pronunciation: [ʁəne ɑ̃ʒelil]; (1942-01-16)16 January 1942 – (2016-01-14)14 January 2016) was a Canadian musical producer, talent manager and singer. He was latterly the manager and husband of singer Celine Dion.[1]

Early life[edit]

Angélil was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, to a father of Syrian descent and a mother of Lebanese origin.[2] His father, Joseph Angélil, was born in Montreal to parents from Damascus, Syria, and his mother, Alice Sara, was born in Montreal to Lebanese parents.[3][4] He was the older of two children; he had a brother, André (born 1945). Both of his parents were members of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church.[citation needed] Angélil studied at Collège Saint-Viateur (high school), in Outremont and at Collège André-Grasset (post secondary), in Montreal.


Angélil started out in 1961 as a pop singer in Montreal. He formed a pop rock group, Les Baronets (fr), with childhood friends Pierre Labelle and Jean Beaulne. Les Baronets had some hits during the 1960s, mostly translations of English-language pop hits from the United Kingdom or the United States, such as 'C'est fou, mais c'est tout' in 1964 (a translation of The Beatles' song Hold Me Tight). After the dissolution of the group in 1972, Angélil and best friend Guy Cloutier began managing artists.[5]

Together they managed the career of two successful Québec entertainers René Simard and Ginette Reno, among many other pop stars at the time. They parted ways in 1981 to each become solo managers. In 1981, (not long after being terminated as Ginette's manager and considering leaving the music business to pursue law school) René heard Celine Dion's demo tape when he was considered as a potential producer for her album. He soon took over as her agent.[6] He continued as her manager until June 2014, when he stepped down because he had cancer.[7]

Angélil became one of several co-owners of Montreal's iconic Schwartz's Deli in 2012.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Celine Dion and Angélil in 2012

In 1966, Angélil married his first wife, Denyse Duquette. Their son Patrick was born in 1968, and they divorced in 1972. He married singer Anne Renée[citation needed] in 1974; they had two children, Jean-Pierre (born 1974) and Anne-Marie Angélil (born 1977), then divorced in 1986. Anne-Marie married singer Marc Dupré in 2000.[8]

Angélil, a well-known former singer-turned-manager, was sent a tape of then 12-year-old singer Celine Dion and invited her to audition in Quebec. He began managing her career, taking the teen and her mother on tour in Canada, Japan, and Europe. He mortgaged his house to finance her first album in 1981.

Angélil and Dion began a personal relationship in 1988 when she was twenty years old. Their first-date took place the night Celine won the Eurovision Song Contest on 30 April 1988. Her mother was vehemently opposed to the union due to their 26-year age gap and his previous failed marriages. However, she eventually relented as most of the family was supportive. They married on 17 December 1994, in a lavish wedding ceremony at Montreal's Notre-Dame Basilica, which was broadcast live on Canadian television.[9]

After Angélil was diagnosed with cancer[which?] in 1999, and before beginning radiation treatment, the couple turned to in-vitro fertilisation. Their efforts were extensively publicised. Their son René-Charles Angélil was born on 25 January 2001. Dion suffered a miscarriage in 2009, then gave birth to twin boys on 23 October 2010. The boys were named Eddy after Eddy Marnay, who produced Dion's first five albums, and Nelson Angélil after former South African president Nelson Mandela.[10]

Angélil and Dion were huge fans of the Montreal Canadiens NHL hockey team, and were good friends of former Quebec Nordiques / Colorado Avalanche president and general manager Pierre Lacroix.[11]

Montreal Jubilation Choir founder Trevor Payne has said that "backstage, out of the eye of the general public, they were the kindest, most down-to-earth, superstars that I've ever known in my entire career."[5]

Defamation suit[edit]

In 2001, Angélil and Dion filed a $5 million defamation lawsuit against the Quebec tabloid Allô Vedettes, which claimed that the couple paid $5,001 to rent the swimming pool of Caesars Palace in Las Vegas so that Dion could sunbathe topless and Angélil could go skinny dipping. The couple strenuously denied the claim.[12]


Angélil was an avid poker player, having qualified for the 2005 World Series of Poker Tournament of Champions, and finishing in the money at the 2007 Mirage Poker Showdown event on the World Poker Tour, a series of high-stakes tournaments. Angélil was also rumoured to be a dedicated gambler away from the poker table. He reportedly gambled upwards of $1 million a week at Caesars Palace, and kept a line of credit for the same amount at Bellagio.[13][14] In 2007, Jan Jones, a casino executive and the former mayor of Las Vegas, claimed that Angélil gambled $1 million a week, but later retracted the statement. Caesars Palace later released a statement of Angélil's gambling losses and wins with his permission.[15]

Later life, illness and death[edit]

Angélil suffered a heart attack in 1991 at age 49.[16] In 1999, he was diagnosed with throat cancer, and made a full recovery after treatment.[17] He appeared in the video for Simple Plan's song 'Save You' as a survivor of cancer.[18] In 2009, Angélil reportedly underwent a planned, heart-related medical procedure to deal with arterial blockage.[19]

Angélil had surgery in December 2013 for throat cancer.[20] In June 2014, Angélil stepped down as Dion's manager to focus on his health, but was still involved in business decisions related to her career.[21] In September 2015, Dion announced that Angélil's cancer had progressed and that he had only "months to live".[22] Angélil died on 14 January 2016, of throat cancer, two days before his 74th birthday.[23][24][25] He received a 'national funeral' service at Notre-Dame Basilica from the government of Quebec on 22 January, and was buried at the Notre Dame des Neiges Cemetery.[26][27]

Following Angélil's death, Dion became the sole owner and president of her management and production companies, including CDA Productions and Les Productions Feeling.[28][29]

Legacy and honours[edit]

Representation in other media[edit]

  • In July 2008, Angélil was named the fictional principal for the reality television show Star Académie's fourth season in 2009.[34] He filled the principal role in the show's two separate runs in 2009 and 2012.
  • Angélil was portrayed by actor Enrico Colantoni in a 2008 television biopic of Dion, Céline.
  • In the 2021 film Aline, directed by and starring Valérie Lemercier and loosely based on Dion's life, the character representing Angélil was portrayed by Sylvain Marcel, an actor from Dion's hometown of Charlemagne.


  1. ^ Shepherd, Harvey (21 July 2001). "Celine's son a Greek Melkite like any other: Rene-Charles to receive a combined baptism, first communion, confirmation in Catholic ceremony". The Gazette (Montreal, Quebec). pp. A6.
  2. ^ Kelly, Brendan (15 January 2016). "René Angélil, Céline Dion's husband, dies after long battle with cancer". Montreal Gazette. Retrieved 4 December 2023.
  3. ^ Kappler, Maija (6 September 2020). "Céline Dion makes emotional plea for Beirut victims". HuffPost Canada.
  4. ^ Baaklini, Suzanne (15 February 2016). ""Le jour où j'ai su que René Angélil était mon cousin..."". L'Orient-Le Jour (in Canadian French) (published 2016).
  5. ^ a b c "René Angélil: Not just a manager of Céline Dion - Montreal - CBC News". Retrieved 23 January 2016.
  6. ^ Ha, Tu Thanh (14 January 2016). "René Angélil: The man behind Céline Dion". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 23 January 2016.
  7. ^ "Celine Dion's husband Rene Angelil quits as her manager". HuffPost Canada. 11 June 2014. Retrieved 15 November 2021.
  8. ^ Roy, Marie-Josée (23 April 2018). "Le départ de René Angélil, un deuil «encore à faire» pour Marc Dupré et sa famille". HuffPost Quebec (in Canadian French). Retrieved 15 November 2021.
  9. ^ "A beautiful love: Celine Dion and René Angélil through the years". Good Housekeeping. 14 January 2016. Retrieved 14 January 2016.
  10. ^ Derschowitz, Jessica (29 October 2010). "Celine Dion's twins named Nelson and Eddy". CBS News. Retrieved 14 January 2016.
  11. ^ Fleury, Theo; Kirstie McLellan Day (2009). Playing With Fire. HarperCollins. p. 217. ISBN 978-1-55468-239-3.
  12. ^ Ha, Tu Thanh (21 August 2001). "Dion sues paper over 'outrageous' topless story".
  13. ^ Nick Mathiason (28 January 2007). "Queen of Las Vegas brings her winning streak to Britain | Business | The Observer". London: Retrieved 5 May 2011.
  14. ^ "Ramblin' gamblin' man: Rene Angélil". 8 February 2007. Archived from the original on 19 February 2009. Retrieved 5 May 2011.
  15. ^ "Casino denies Dion husband losses". BBC News Online. 2 February 2007. Retrieved 14 January 2016.
  16. ^ "Celine Dion's husband Rene Angelil has been fighting cancer, heart problems for over 20 years". HuffPost Canada. 13 August 2014. Retrieved 15 November 2021.
  17. ^ "Celine Dion's 'spirituality' has helped her be strong for her husband". The Record. 4 August 2010. Retrieved 14 January 2016.
  18. ^ Video on YouTube
  19. ^ "Dion's husband OK after heart work |". Las Vegas Review-Journal. 15 May 2009. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
  20. ^ Duke, Alan (14 August 2014). "Celine Dion cancels shows as husband fights cancer". Retrieved 27 December 2015.
  21. ^ Vlessing, Etan (6 December 2014). "Celine Dion has new manager as Rene Angelil steps down". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
  22. ^ "Celine Dion: husband Rene Angelil has only weeks to live". Realty Today. 7 September 2015. Retrieved 27 December 2015.
  23. ^ "Celine Dion shares heartbreaking details about husband Rene Angelil's death in new interview". MSN. 18 February 2018. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
  24. ^ "Celine Dion's husband has lost a 'courageous' battle with cancer". Smooth Radio. 14 January 2016. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
  25. ^ Barnes, Mike (14 January 2016). "Rene Angelil dies at 73". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 14 January 2016.
  26. ^ a b "René Angélil remembered at national funeral in Montreal". Montreal: CBC News. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  27. ^ "René Angélil 'protected me,' Céline Dion says at Las Vegas memorial". Montreal: CBC News. Associated Press. 4 February 2016. Retrieved 5 March 2019.
  28. ^ "Federal Corporation Information - 397656-4 - Online Filing Centre - Corporations Canada - Corporations - Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada". Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.
  29. ^ "Nevada Secretary of State: Nevada Entity Search".
  30. ^ "Rene Angelil, Celine Dion's husband and former manager, dies at 73". The Hollywood Reporter. 14 January 2016. Retrieved 22 January 2016.
  31. ^ Nelson, Jeff (22 January 2016). "Céline Dion bids farewell to husband René Angélil at Montreal funeral". People Magazine. Retrieved 22 January 2016.
  32. ^ "Céline Dion's late husband René Angélil honored during Grammys 'In Memoriam' reel as 'My Heart Will Go On' plays". People Magazine. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  33. ^ "WGSBN Bulletin Archive". Working Group Small Body Nomenclature. 14 May 2021. Retrieved 16 May 2021. (Bulletin #1)
  34. ^ "René Angélil prend la tête de l'académie" (in Canadian French). LCN. 29 July 2008. Archived from the original on 10 July 2012.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)

External links[edit]