French singer Charles Aznavour finally got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Thursday, capping a more than 70-year career as one of his country’s most popular entertainers.
Aznavour, 93, who was born Shahnour Varinag Aznavourian in Paris to Armenian parents, has sold more than 100 million records in 80 countries. He has been described as France’s equivalent to Frank Sinatra.
The singer on Thursday described himself as happy at the honor – with reservations.
“The word I can say is happy, and with a part of emotion, of course, because we are far away from my country, from my way of living, from my way of being received by the people,” he said at the Hollywood ceremony.
Aznavour began his career peddling his words and music to the Paris boulevardiers of the 40s and 50s – Edith Piaf, Maurice Chevalier and Charles Trenet.
He soon became adept himself at interpreting emotional love songs, recording hits like “She,” “Hier Encore” (Yesterday When I Was Young), “Apres l’Amour” (After Love) and “La Boheme.”
Aznavour is also known for his humanitarian work in Armenia, especially after the 1988 earthquake that killed tens of thousands of people. He was granted Armenian citizenship in 2008 and was appointed in 2009 to be that country’s ambassador to Switzerland, a position he still holds.