Charles Boyer

January 20, 2009

Charles Boyer is my all-time favorite actor. He was so skilled in the art of acting, so able to camouflage into different roles that it is hard to think of anyone else capable of performing even half as good as Charles Boyer did. You of course know the movie "An Affair to Remember?" Charles Boyer originated Cary Grant's role in an earlier version of the film, and actually outshines Cary Grant--- Cary Grant!!

When Charles Boyer was a young man in France, he was devoted to the theater. He left his home in a small French town to move to Paris, where he eventually succeeded on the French stage and in French pictures before making the move to Hollywood. His romantic appearance and deep lyrical accent made him perfectly suited as a leading man, although he always thought of himself as a character actor. Playing opposite such larger-than-life women as Bette Davis, Hedy Lamarr and Ingrid Bergman, it was always Charles Boyer who stole the scene. I personally think it is his "character actor" approach to typical leading man-roles that made him so outstanding, so unlike the rest of the leading men of this era.

Charles Boyer was often cast as a romantic Frenchman, and in this case it was true to real life. Boyer met his wife Pat Paterson at a party in Hollywood, they married very soon after, and were devoted to each other for the rest of their lives. When Paterson became ill in the 1970's, Boyer concealed the severity of the illness from her, instead opting to make the remainder of her life as beautiful and joyful as he could. Charles Boyer took his own life just two days after his wife died, unable to live without her.

I am so glad, as everyone should be, that Charles Boyer made the switch from theater to film. Through his movies, we have an eternal reminder of how great his acting ability was, how beautiful he could read his lines, and how truly remarkable a man he was.

For more information on Charles Boyer, I highly recommend the biography by Larry Swindell.

Additionally, Charles Boyer recorded a musical album in the 1960's that is absolutely wonderful- entitled Where Does Love Go?

And by the way, if your only knowledge of Charles Boyer is the infamous line "Come with me to the Casbah" you'll be surprised to learn that he never spoke the line! It was supposedly from the film "Algiers" but if you watch it closely, you'll see that no such line ever enters the dialogue!

Kate's suggestions: All This and Heaven Too, History is Made at Night, Algiers, Gaslight, Love Affair


vivienne strauss said...

I am so glad you are doing this blog! I have seen several of Boyer's films but did not know about his relationship with his wife, what a tender story, it brought tears to my eyes.

Unknown said...

I didn't know either until I read his biography. From what I read, he seemed like such a sweet, shy man totally in love with his wife and always enjoying his craft. It really makes his movies all the more enjoyable knowing he was such a swell guy.