Edith Piaf

Definition

Theater

  • (Giovanna Edith Gassion; 1915 - 63) The internationallyfamous French singer and entertainer. Her assumed name Piafis French slang for sparrow - a reference to her tiny stature.Despite a poverty-stricken childhood and a disastrous private life,Piaf's indomitable spirit, distinctive voice, and emotional stylebrought her enormous success in cabaret and music hall. She was lovedby Parisians, who thronged the streets on the day of her funeral,causing total traffic chaos, and admired throughout the world forsuch songs as 'La Vie en rose', which she wrote herself, 'Pigalle','Mon legionnaire', 'Je ne regrette rien', and 'Pour deux sous d'amour'.Jean Cocteau, an ardent admirer, wrote Le Bel Indifferent(1941) to provide her with one of her infrequent theatrical roles.She also appeared in Marcel Achard's La P'tite Lili (1951).Her own disastrous childhood and emotional instability, which resultedin failed marriages, alcoholism, and drug addiction, were depictedin Pam Gems's play Piaf (1980); Jane Lapotaire gave a movinginterpretation of the singer in the first English production. Theplay was revived in 1993 with Elaine Paige in the lead.
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