- (Elisabeth Félix; 1821 - 58) French tragic actress,born in Switzerland. The daughter of poor Jewish pedlars, she beganher career by singing in the streets of Paris and Lyons as a child.She subsequently attended the Conservatoire, where she was trainedin the French classical tradition by Joseph-Isidore Samson, beforejoining the Comédie-Française in 1838. Herfirst great triumph came in 1843, when she played the lead in Racine'sPhèdre. As Adrienne Lecouvreur in Scribe'splay of that name (1848) she confirmed her position as one of thegreatest tragic actresses of the age. Rachel did much to revive thereputation of the Comédie-Française and toured widelyin Europe and America: she also became known for her many love affairs.Despite her small frame she gave performances of great physical force. Herearly death was caused by consumption aggravated by overexertion.