Yves Montand

The Italian-French singer and actor Yves Montand was born Ivo Livi in Italy but moved to France at the age of two with his parents to escape the unwanted attention of Benito Mussolini's fascist regime (the singer's father, Giovanni Livi, was a communist). Montand spent his formative years in Marseille where he started his show business career as a music hall singer before being discovered by the French singing legend Édith Piaf when he was 23. He joined Piaf's stage show and progressed to being an international singing star. His smooth style led to him being one of the leading crooners of his day, often singing about Paris. Montand became one of the stars at the Paris Olympia, a famous Parisian venue where he would rub shoulders with the likes of Jacques Brel, Violetta Villas, Dalida and of course Édith Piaf. The transition from popular singer to star of Broadway and Hollywood came effortlessly to the urbane singer and throughout his career he would appear in over 50 movies and record more than 30 albums. His death in 1992 came shortly after the 70-year-old had finished filming 'IP5: The Island of Pachyderms' in which he played the part of an old man who died of a heart attack, coincidentally the same cause of death as Montand.

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