Mademoiselle George

Definition

Theater

  • (Marguerite-Josephine Weymer; 1787 - 1867). French tragic actress, afamous beauty who was billed as "Queen of Beautiful Actresses - the most beautiful woman at present on the stage". The managerof a theater in Angers went further, advertising her as "themost beautiful woman in Europe".

    Mademoiselle George made her debut at the Comédie-Françaiseas a 15-year-old and went on to win particular acclaim as Lady Macbeth. In1808 she eloped with a dancer to Russia, where she joined a French company andbecame a bitter rival to the actress Yekaterina Semyonova (1786 - 1839).She returned to the Comédie-Française five years later, but herfurious temper and notorious rivalry with another actress, Mlle Duchesnois,caused so much trouble that she was forced to leave in 1817. In the early1830s her career took on a new lease of life when she starred in the romanticdramas of Dumas and Hugo, whose Lucrèce Borgia (1833) suppliedher with one of her most famous roles. However, her buxom beauty was by thistime degenerating into the obesity that eventually made her a figure of ridicule.Howls of laughter are said to have greeted an emotional moment in Hugo'sMarie Tudor when the former Queen of Beautiful Actresses fell to herknees - and was quite unable to get up again.

    As a young woman, Mlle George's lovers are said to have includedNapoleon, Talleyrand, and Metternich. Many years later, when she askedArsene Houssaye to help her to write her memoirs, he could not control hiscuriosity about her supposed affair with the emperor:

    Houssaye Is it true that he sent for you long aftermidnight and that he forgot that you were there until morning, absorbedas he was in the map of Europe?
    Mademoiselle George Pure slander. His map ofEurope! I was his map of Europe.
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