b. Lambros Worloou, 8 February 1915, Alexandria, Egypt, d. 13 September 1997, Mougins (Alpes-Maritimes), France. A singer, dancer, variety and revue artist for more than 50 years, Guétary was the epitome of the charming and romantic Latin lover. His boundless energy, good nature and mischievous air endeared him to audiences in Europe and America. The son of Greek parents, he was sent by his father to Paris in 1934, ostensibly to extend his knowledge of commerce. Instead, he succumbed to his early love of music, and studied at the music school run by the distinguished violinist Jacques Thibaud and pianist Alfred Cordot. He also received vocal training from Ninon Vallin before making his stage debut in 1937 at the Européen with Jo Bouillon And His Orchestra. The legendary Mistinguett spotted him there, and invited him to appear with her at the Casino de Paris. Soon, he was making records - several with accordionist Fredo Gardoni - and touring as a soloist in revue and operetta. During World War II, he changed his name to Georges Guétary, and moved to Toulouse, where he worked as a maître d’hôtel. He continued to sing, however, and, after returning to Paris, starred in a series of operettas. He also became an immensely popular recording artist, and appeared in a number of films during the 50s directed by Gilles Grangier.
In November 1946, Guétary returned from singing in Switzerland in order to meet the UK impresario Charles B. Cochran, who was in Paris auditioning for his new musical, Bless The Bride. Although he could speak hardly any English, Guétary was engaged, and starred opposite Lizbeth Webb, revelling in songs such as ‘Ma Belle Marguerite’, ‘This Is My Lovely Day’ and ‘I Was Never Kissed Before’, from Vivian Ellis and A.P. Herbert’s memorable score. Guétary also appeared in Robert Nesbitt’s West End revue, Latin Quarter (1949), with Frances Day, before making his Broadway debut in Arms And The Girl (1950), a musical version of Lawrence Langner and Armina Marshall’s play The Pursuit Of Happiness. Arms And The Girl ran for only about four months, but Guétary’s excellent reviews led him to being cast as the ‘older man’, Henri Baurel, in what was his only American movie, Vincente Minnelli’s An American In Paris. Screenwriter Alan Jay Lerner had created the role of Baurel specifically for Maurice Chevalier, but the latter was not used, owing to various problems. In company with Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron, Guétary was superb, singing ‘(I’ll Build A) Stairway To Paradise’, ‘Love Walked In’, ‘’S Wonderful’ (with Kelly) and ‘By Strauss’ (with Kelly and Oscar Levant), while simply musing on ‘Nice Work If You Can Get It’. A few years later, Guétary confirmed his ever-youthful image and approach by humorously welcoming the 50s musical revolution with ‘Georges Viens Danser Le Rock ‘N’ Roll’. From then on, he continued to perform and sing regularly on stage, and at the age of 80 returned to the scene of former triumphs, the Bobino music hall in Paris for his final concert. His audience, mostly comprising elderly ladies whom he had enchanted for many years, were enraptured and he did not disappoint.