Today's Birthdays

one click shows all of today's celebrity birthdays

Browse All Birthdays

43,625    Actors
27,931    Actresses
4,867    Composers
7,058    Directors
842    Footballers
221    Racing drivers
925    Singers
9,111    Writers

Get FamousLikeMe on your website
One line of code gets FamousLikeMe on your website. Find out more.

Subscribe to Daily updates

Add to Google

privacy policy

Famous Like Me > Singer > P > Édith Piaf

Profile of Édith Piaf on Famous Like Me

Name: Édith Piaf  
Also Know As: Édith Giovanna Gassion
Date of Birth: 11th October 1915
Place of Birth: Paris, France;
Profession: Singer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia
Édith Piaf

Édith Piaf (December 19, 1915–October 11, 1963) was one of France's most loved singers and a national icon. Her music reflected her tragic life, with her speciality being the poignant ballad presented with a heartbreaking voice. The most famous songs performed by Piaf were "La vie en rose" (1946), "Milord" (1959), and "Non, je ne regrette rien" (1960).

She was born Édith Giovanna Gassion in Paris to Louis-Alphonse Gassion and Annetta Giovanna Maillard, who was Italian; her mother worked as a café singer and her father was a well-known travelling acrobat. Abandoned by her mother, she was raised by her paternal grandmother, who ran a brothel in Normandy. From the age of three to seven she was blind. As part of Piaf's legend, she allegedly recovered her sight after her grandmother's prostitutes went on a pilgrimage to Saint Thérèse de Lisieux. Later she lived for a while with her alcoholic father, whom she left by the age of sixteen in order to become a street singer in Paris.

In 1935, Piaf was discovered by the nightclub owner Louis Leplée, whose club was frequented by the upper and lower classes alike. He convinced her to sing despite her extreme nervousness, and gave her the nickname that would stay with her for the rest of her life: La Môme Piaf (The Little Sparrow). From this she took her stage name. Her first record was produced in the same year. Shortly afterwards Leplée was murdered, and Piaf was accused of being an accessory; she was acquitted.

In 1940, Jean Cocteau wrote the successful play Le Bel Indifférent for her to star in. She began to make friends with famous people, such as the actor Maurice Chevalier and the poet Jacques Borgeat. She wrote the lyrics of many of her songs, and collaborated with composers on the tunes.

Her signature song, "La vie en rose", (which was voted a Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1998) was written in the middle of the German occupation of Paris in World War II. During this time, she was in great demand and very successful. Singing for high-ranking Germans at the One Two Two Club earned Piaf the right to pose for photos with French prisoners of war, ostensibly as a morale-boosting exercise. Once in possession of their celebrity photos, prisoners were able to cut out their own images and use them in forged papers as part of escape plans. Today, Piaf's association with the French Resistance is well known, and many owe their lives to her. After the war, she toured Europe, the United States, and South America, becoming an internationally known figure. Her popularity in the U.S. was such that she appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show eight times. She helped to launch the career of Charles Aznavour, taking him on tour with her in France and the United States.

The great love of Piaf's life, the boxer Marcel Cerdan, died in 1949. Piaf was married twice. Her first husband was Jacques Pills, a singer; they married in 1952 and divorced in 1956. Her second husband, Theophanis Lamboukas (also known as Théo Sarapo), was a hairdresser-turned-singer and actor, and was twenty years younger than Piaf; they married in 1962. She had one child, a daughter, Marcelle, who died at the age of two in 1935; the child's father was Louis Dupont.

In 1951 she was in a car accident, and thereafter had difficulty breaking a serious morphine habit.

The grave of Édith Piaf, in Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris

The Paris Olympia is the place where Piaf achieved fame and where, just a few months before her death, she gave one of her most memorable concerts while barely able to stand. In early 1963, Piaf recorded her last song, "L'homme de Berlin".

At the early age of forty-seven, Piaf died of cancer in Cannes on October 11, 1963, the same day as her friend Jean Cocteau. She was buried in Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris. Although forbidden a Mass by the Roman Catholic archbishop of Paris (because of her lifestyle), her funeral procession drew hundreds of thousands of mourners onto the streets of Paris and the ceremony at the cemetery was jammed with more than forty thousand fans. Charles Aznavour recalled that Piaf's funeral procession was the only time, since the end of World War II, that Parisian traffic came to a complete stop.

There is a museum dedicated to Piaf, the Musée Édith Piaf at 5, rue Crespin du Gast, 75011, Paris.

Today she is still remembered and revered as one of the greatest singers France has ever produced. Her life was one of sharp contrasts: the range of her fame as opposed to her tragic personal life, and her fragile small figure on stage with the resounding power of her voice.

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Édith Piaf