Born on June 3, 1891 at Mantes-la-Ville, Yvelines, Ile-de-France, France, he began studying the piano at the age of 11 and at age 16 went to Paris where he performed on stage, singing extracts of traditional operettas and lovesongs. Over the next few years he continued to perform his lovesongs at various concert halls and cabarets and appeared in a musical comedy in Montparnasse where he was a big hit.
In the 1920s and 30s, he would become one of the most popular singers of Paris, putting together his own comedy troop, performing at the Moulin Rouge, Bobino, Alhambra Club, and the Casino of Paris.
In 1932, he appeared in a motion picture with the comedian Fernandel, and between then and the 1950s he would appear in half a dozen films as well as serving as the artistic director of three different theatres. In addition to all this, he still found time to write a play, and several detective novels.