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PARIS NIGHTS: My Year at the Moulin Rouge
Little did Cliff Simon know that a single phone call and a one-way ticket to Paris would ultimately change his life forever.
Now the acclaimed television and film actor shares his journey from Johannesburg to the Moulin Rouge to Hollywood in his debut memoir, PARIS NIGHTS: My Year at the Moulin Rouge.
“Cliff Simon’s Paris Nights, the memoir of a South African soldier turned performer in the world’s most famous cabaret, delivers in a hugely entertaining way. He writes of Paris as no one has done before, the after-dark city of night clubs, dance groupies, street fights, and shady characters. His is a truly singular story, and it’s told with humor, swagger, and absolute honesty.”
—Marcia DeSanctis, author of 100 Places in France Ever Woman Should Go
From a young age Cliff Simon knew he was headed towards big places.
Having grown up as both a skilled gymnast and a competitive swimmer, performance was in his blood. But with the onset of Apartheid and the looming threat of war, he and his Jewish family soon retreated from Johannesburg, South Africa to the London countryside.
Before he knew it, he joined the British swim team and was near Olympics-bound with a full-ride offer to a United States university.
But something wasn't quite right. Instead, Cliff returned home and enlisted in the South African Air Force.
Cliff's habit of impulsive risk-taking would continue but ultimately pave the foundation for an experience most of us would only dream of.
After he was honorably discharged, twenty-seven-year-old Cliff worked a series of odd jobs at a resort near the Indian Ocean until he received a phone call from an old friend inviting him to join him at the iconic Moulin Rouge. Here begins the story of Cliff's meteoric rise at the Moulin from swing dancer to principal in the glamour filled show, Formidable; his offstage encounters with street thugs and diamond smugglers; and the long nights filled with after parties and his pick of gorgeous women.
Encounter the magic, the mayhem, and the glory that was and still is the Moulin Rouge.
Waldorf Publishing (July 2016) 204 pages
Electronic manuscript available
"…Simon has shaped his anecdotes from the time into a very readable and entertaining memoir. Flecked with quotes and references to the many writers who were captivated by Paris before Simon, the volume manages to communicate the surreal atmosphere of the city and the even more surreal environment of the cabaret. …for those interested in the esoteric world of the Moulin Rouge, this is a book worth reading." Kirkus Reviews
"After a honorable discharge, he works in cabaret at seaside resorts, and is recruited as a gymnast in a cabaret, where he realizes that the stage is his destiny. The memoir fast forwards to Cliff's meteoric rise at the Moulin from swing dancer to principal in "Formidable." Off stage he gets into fights with street thugs, hangs out with diamond smugglers, and has his pick of gorgeous women. With a year at the Moulin to his credit, doors open for him internationally and back in South Africa. He earns a starring role in "Egoli: Place of Gold," and marries his longtime girlfriend, Colette. On their honeymoon to Paris, Cliff says, "Merci Paris for the best year of my life." " - Publisher's Weekly
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