- (1831 - 1908) Prolific French dramatist, who dominatedthe Parisian stage in the late 19th century with his well-craftedmelodramas. The successor to Eugène Scribe, he influencedA. W. Pinero, Henry Arthur Jones, and numerous other playwrights.
After years of poverty and failure, Sardou scored his first majorsuccess in 1860 with Les Pattes de mouche, seen a year later in Londonas A Scrap of Paper; he went on to write 20 plays in the next six years(and some 70 in the course of his career). Of his later works, one of the mostpopular was the melodrama Fédora (1882) which starred SarahBernhardt when first staged in Paris. In the 1895 London production, MrsPatrick Campbell played Fédora, a role that Beerbohm Tree, playingopposite her, called "a part to tear a cat in". The play gaveits name to the soft felt hat, as worn by the heroine, a Russian princess.
Bernhardt also starred in Sardou's La Tosca (1887),the source of Puccini's opera (1900), and several other dramas writtenespecially for her by the playwright. His other successes included thehistorical dramas Patrie! (1869) and Madame Sans-Gêne(1893) and the social drama Dora (1877), which was producedin London as Diplomacy in 1878. see also lobster thermidor.