Angélil in 2009
|Died||January 14, 2016 (aged 73)|
Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
|Resting place||Notre Dame des Neiges Cemetery (Montreal)|
René Angélil, [ʁəˈne ɑ̃ʒeˈlil], Arabic: رينيه أنجليل; January 16, 1942 – January 14, 2016) was a Canadian musical producer, talent manager and singer. He was the manager (1981–2014) and husband (1994–2016; his death) of singer Céline Dion.(French pronunciation:
Angélil was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, to a father of Syrian descent and a mother of Lebanese origin. 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. 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. Angélil studied at College Saint-Viateur (high school), in Outremont and at College 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.
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 Céline Dion's demo tape when he was considered as a potential producer for her album. He soon took over as her agent. He continued as her manager until June 2014, when he stepped down because he had cancer.
In 1966, Angélil married his first wife, Denyse Duquette. They had a son, Patrick (born 1968), and divorced in 1972. In 1974, he married singer Anne Renée—the couple had two children, Jean-Pierre (born 1974) and Anne-Marie Angélil (born 1977), they divorced in 1986. Anne-Marie married singer Marc Dupré in 2000.
Angélil, a well-known former singer-turned-manager, was sent a tape of then 12-year-old singer, Céline 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 nineteen years old. Their relationship began the night Céline won the Eurovision Song Contest on April 30, 1988. Given the large age gap that existed between the two and the very young age of Dion when they met, the relationship has been considered controversial and an example of child-grooming. They married on December 17, 1994, in a lavish wedding ceremony at Montreal's Notre-Dame Basilica, which was broadcast live on Canadian television.
After Angélil was diagnosed with cancer in 1999, and before beginning radiation treatment, the couple turned to in-vitro fertilization. Their efforts were extensively publicized. Their son René-Charles Angélil was born on January 25, 2001. Dion suffered a miscarriage in 2009, then gave birth to twin boys on October 23, 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.
In 2003, Angélil was investigated for an alleged sexual assault that occurred in Las Vegas in the year 2000. While all formal charges were dropped, Angélil paid the victim $2 million dollars using the excuse that he wanted to avoid negative publicity while dealing with ill health.
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."
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.
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. 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.
Later life, illness and death
Angélil suffered a heart attack in 1991 at age 49. In 1999 he was diagnosed with throat cancer and made a full recovery after treatment. He appeared in the video for Simple Plan's song "Save You" as a survivor of cancer. In 2009, Angélil reportedly underwent a heart-related medical procedure to deal with arterial blockage. The procedure had been planned for months and was not heart surgery.
Angélil had surgery in December 2013 for throat cancer. 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. In September 2015, Dion announced that Angélil's cancer had progressed and that he had only "months to live". Angélil died on January 14, 2016 of throat cancer, two days before his 74th birthday. He received a "national funeral" service at Notre-Dame Basilica from the government of Quebec on January 22 and was buried at the Notre Dame des Neiges Cemetery.
Legacy and honours
- 1987 and 1988: Félix Award for Manager of the Year.
- June 2009: Awarded the National Order of Quebec, as Chevalier
- July 2013: Awarded the Order of Canada.
- January 22, 2016: Canadian flags flew at half-mast on all government buildings in his memoriam and national funeral service in Notre-Dame Basilica
- February 15, 2016: Honoured by Grammy Award during its annual "In Memoriam" tribute.
Representation in other media
- In July 2008, Angélil was named the fictional principal for the reality television show Star Académie's fourth season in 2009. 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 planned Valérie Lemercier-directed film loosely based on Dion's life, the character representing Angélil is to be portrayed by Sylvain Marcel, an actor from Dion's hometown of Charlemagne.
- Shepherd, Harvey (July 21, 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.
- Kelly, Brendan (2016). "René Angélil, Céline Dion's husband, dies after long battle with cancer". Montrealgazette.
- Kappler, Maija. "Céline Dion Makes Emotional Plea For Beirut Victims". Huffingtonpost.ca.
- Baaklini, Suzanne (2016). "" Le jour où j'ai su que René Angélil était mon cousin... "". L'Orient-Le Jour.
- "René Angélil: Not just a manager of Céline Dion - Montreal - CBC News". cbc.ca. Retrieved January 23, 2016.
- "René Angélil: The man behind Céline Dion - The Globe and Mail". theglobeandmail.com. Retrieved January 23, 2016.
- "Celine Dion's Husband Rene Angelil Quits As Her Manager". huffingtonpost.ca. Retrieved January 23, 2016.
- "«Tout le monde en parle»: le départ de René Angélil, un deuil «encore à faire» pour Marc Dupré". Huffington Post, April 23, 2018.
- Frederick, Randall S. (March 8, 2019). "Sexual Grooming". www.sexualityandthecity.com. Retrieved January 31, 2020.
- "A Beautiful Love: Celine Dion and René Angélil Through the Years". Good Housekeeping. January 14, 2016. Retrieved January 14, 2016.
- Jessica Derschowitz (October 29, 2010). "Celine Dion's Twins Named Nelson and Eddy". CBS News. Retrieved January 14, 2016.
- "Woman who got $2-million from Angelil now broke". The Globe and Mail. August 7, 2003. Retrieved January 31, 2021.
- Fleury, Theo; Kirstie McLellan Day (2009). Playing With Fire. HarperCollins. p. 217. ISBN 978-1-55468-239-3.
- Ha, Tu Thanh (August 21, 2001). "Dion sues paper over 'outrageous' topless story". theglobeandmail.com.
- NickMathiason (January 28, 2007). "Queen of Las Vegas brings her winning streak to Britain | Business | The Observer". London: Observer.guardian.co.uk. Retrieved May 5, 2011.
- "Ramblin' Gamblin' Man: Rene Angélil". Vegasblog.latimes.com. February 8, 2007. Archived from the original on February 19, 2009. Retrieved May 5, 2011.
- "Casino denies Dion husband losses". BBC News Online. February 2, 2007. Retrieved January 14, 2016.
- "Celine Dion's Husband Rene Angelil Has Been Fighting Cancer, Heart Problems For Over 20 Years". Huffingtonpost.ca. August 13, 2014. Retrieved December 27, 2015.
- "Celine Dion's 'spirituality' has helped her be strong for her husband". The Record. August 4, 2010. Retrieved January 14, 2016.
- Video on YouTube
- "Dion's husband OK after heart work | Las Vegas Review-Journal". Reviewjournal.com. May 15, 2009. Retrieved December 27, 2015.
- Duke, Alan (August 14, 2014). "Celine Dion cancels shows as husband fights cancer". CNN.com. Retrieved December 27, 2015.
- Vlessing, Etan (December 6, 2014). "Celine Dion Has New Manager as Rene Angelil Steps Down". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 27, 2015.
- "Celine Dion: Husband Rene Angelil Has Only Weeks to Live : News". Realty Today. September 7, 2015. Retrieved December 27, 2015.
- "Celine Dion shares heartbreaking details about husband Rene Angelil's death in new interview". MSN. February 18, 2018. Retrieved February 19, 2018.
- "Celine Dion's Husband Has Lost A 'Courageous' Battle With Cancer". Smooth. January 14, 2016. Retrieved January 15, 2016.
- "Rene Angelil Dies at 73". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 14, 2016.
- "René Angélil remembered at national funeral in Montreal - Montreal - CBC News". cbc.ca. Retrieved January 30, 2016.
- "René Angélil 'protected me,' Céline Dion says at Las Vegas memorial". Associated Press. February 4, 2016. Retrieved March 5, 2019.
- "Federal Corporation Information - 397656-4 - Online Filing Centre - Corporations Canada - Corporations - Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada". Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.
- "Nevada Secretary of State: Nevada Entity Search".
- "Rene Angelil, Celine Dion's Husband and Former Manager, Dies at 73". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
- "Céline Dion Bids Farewell to Husband René Angélil at Montreal Funeral". People Magazine. Retrieved January 22, 2016.
- "Céline Dion's Late Husband René Angélil Honored During Grammys 'In Memoriam' Reel as 'My Heart Will Go On' Plays". People Magazine. Retrieved February 16, 2016.
- René Angélil prend la tête de l'académie, LCN, July 29, 2008.