Olivier Jauffrit is the French music pundit who runs radio station Paris Chanson. One of his favourite films is “An American in Paris” which he calls a ‘Fantastic musical movie’ for its show stopping numbers and for the songs of Georges Guétary, a very popular singer and actor in France.
Guétary was born 8 February 1915 as Lambros Worloou in Egypt to Greek parents and studied music in Egypt and Paris where he made his stage debut in 1937. He sang and danced with the much loved Mistinguett at the Casino de Paris, she was the most popular French entertainer of her time and the highest paid female entertainer in the world.
Guétary appeared on the stage in London and New York and in films including the legendary and enduring “An American in Paris”. He played the part of Henri Baurel, a friend and unknowing romantic rival of Jerry Mulligan (the American in Paris) played by Gene Kelly. Leslie Caron plays the love interest – both Henry and Jerry are in love with her and she must choose between Henry who has been so good to her and Jerry who steals her heart.
In the film, Guétary and Kelly duet, without the other knowing of their love for the same girl in the fabulous “’S Wonderful”.
Georges Guétary remained popular in France and gave a farewell performance at the age of 80, known as “the eternal young man”; he died 13 September, 1997
To illustrate Guétary’s style Olivier Jauffrit has chosen a video showing an extract from “An American in Paris” in which Gene Kelly, Oscar Levant and George Guétary sing the words of George Gershwin’s “By Strauss”: