In Djibouti, during WW2, all communications with occupied France had been stopped and all the products available were American, and in particular the movies ! Jean-Paul, as a little boy, was fascinated by what he was seeing on the screen, the New York sky scrappers, the Indians and cow boys of the western films, the gorgeous American ladies who could sing and dance so well ! The first movie stars he knew were James Stewart, Tyrone Power, and of course, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers ! As a teenager, Jean-Paul had been an admirer of the great French composer Charles Trenet who wrote international hits such as “Beyond the Sea” and “I Wish You Love”. Later he had the privilege of meeting Charles Aznavour whom he admired as a composer and a performer. But he also was attracted by American music and had been listening to every Frank Sinatra’s records he could find. That’s why his musical taste goes beyond the trend of a moment and gives him a unique universal appeal.
An American citizen since 1969, Jean-Paul Vignon was born in Ethiopia of a French father and an Italian mother, spent his childhood in Djibouti (formerly French Somaliland) and studied in France. That exotic background made him a sensuous singer and a man with a passion for life.
In Paris, Jean-Paul won a song contest and was immediately signed by a manager who guided his career. He sang in cabarets, recorded for Barclay Records, starred in two movies, one, “Asphalte”, with the French movie star Francoise Arnoul, and he appeared many times on television. Unfortunately in those days France was at war in Algeria and Jean-Paul had to go to the army to perform his Military Service that lasted 28 months. When he came back his early achievements had been forgotten and he had to start all over again ! He got a booking on the ship The France, and the American crowd liked him very much. A gentleman who had some relations in show business told him that he could help him if he came to New York. Jean-Paul who had been dreaming of America since his childhood did not hesitate. On his return to Paris he sold everything and flew to New York where he made his debut at the “Blue Angel”, opening the show for a young Woody Allen… The scouts of the Ed Sullivan Show saw him there and signed him for eight appearances on his TV program
Thanks to the Ed Sullivan Show Jean-Paul was signed by Columbia Records, and performed in every major night club from New York to Las Vegas. He co-starred in David Wolper’s film “THE DEVIL’S BRIGADE” with William Holden and Cliff Robertson, appeared on many television shows like “Colombo”, “Murder She Wrote”, “L.A. Law”, “Dallas”, “Gilmore Girls”, “The Tonight Show”, “The Merv Griffin Show”, and even starred in his own TV program in Canada “The Sensuous Man”, produced by Dick Clark.
He was lucky to have met Farrah Fawcett with whom he recorded a song that had won the Eurovision Song Festival. He was singing in French and Farrah was whispering in English what he was singing in French. A very sexy record that unfortunately was never released due to the politics of Show Business !
DreamWorks booked him to use his voice in the blockbuster film “SHREK”, and he played the French Narrator in “500 DAYS OF SUMMER”.
Of course he had a private life. He was married to the American actress Brigid Bazlen with whom he had a daughter, Marguerite who is now married and has two beautiful little girls. He also had another daughter, Lucy, who is a world traveler ! He is now in the autumn of his life, and very happy to live with Suzie, his greatest love.
Jean-Paul has that old world charm, that natural humor and that special charisma which appeals to both men and women. That is why Maurice Chevalier said “I like Jean-Paul Vignon very much !”