French-armenian singing legend Charles Aznavour, one of the 20th century’s most prolific songwriters who remains active at 92, was honored on Oct. 27 with a Hollywood star presented by California’s Armenians.
Aznavour, often dubbed “France’s Frank Sinatra,” said he was “deeply moved” by the recognition.
The star is not on Hollywood Boulevard’s main Walk of Fame but was dedicated by the Armenian community on a nearby stretch of sidewalk.
“I’ve been coming to Hollywood for years and I’ve worked a lot in the United States,” Aznavour said. “America is the land of show business.”
Aznavour was born in France to Armenian parents. Up to 1.5 million Armenians died in 1915-17 in the waning days of the Ottoman Empire in what Armenia, several foreign parliaments and many historians describe as genocide.
Turkey strongly opposes the characterization of genocide, calling the episode a collective tragedy in which both Turks and Armenians were killed by either side.
“What I find very funny is that Turkey lost something. They don’t have a single great singer and I could have been a Turkish singer, while today I’m a French singer,” Aznavour said.
“Which goes to show that there’s no purpose to genocide as there are always survivors,” he said.
Aznavour has written hundreds of songs in a career that spans more than 80 years, with more than 100 million records sold worldwide.
He remains energetic and said he still feels excitement before crowds. Earlier in October he played Madison Square Garden in New York.
“I feel like I’m meeting my family, whether they’re Italian or Spanish or from elsewhere. The audience is part of my family. The stage is where I’m happiest.” And he says he is not finished: “I always have 40 songs ahead of me. I write every day.”