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Charles Aznavour, who has died aged 94, became one of the greatest singer-songwriters of the 20th century.Born Shahnour Varinag Aznavourian in Paris on May 22, 1924, to parents who fled the massacres, Aznavour sold more than 180 million records in a career spanning eight decades and as many languages.A gifted and multilingual actor, Aznavour brought a rare intensity to the stage, turning every song into "a one-act play". In fact, Aznavour saw himself "more as an actor who sings than a singer who acts". Starring in more than 60 films did not stop him writing over 1,300 songs in a staggeringly prolific career. Manouchian's wife Melinee only escaped thanks to the Aznavourians, who were later honored for their bravery.Having left school early, a decision he forever regretted, Aznavour got his big break after the war when he opened for the rising French star Edith Piaf.Buoyed by the success of "Shoot the Piano Player" he took New York's Carnegie Hall by storm in 1963 before touring the world and seeing his songs recorded by stars from Ray Charles to Liza Minnelli and Fred Astaire.He also performed duets with Sinatra, Elton John, Sting and Celine Dion.
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