Edith Piaf: biography
In December 2015, there were 100 years since the birth of a French star named Édith Piaf. But it seems that no matter how many centuries have passed, the name of this brilliant singer will be known and her work is as revered as it is today. Édith Piaf's life is a series of ups and downs. Perhaps the test measured in the life of this tiny woman, who is six feet tall, the heavens measured as much as would be enough for ten people.
The death of an only child, the two (according to some reports, four) car accident, seven severe operations, dependence on drugs and alcohol, madness and delirium tremens, attempted suicide, three come because of hepatitis, two world wars and the loss of a loved one, this is just the top of the iceberg. The biography of Édith Piaf is a string of tragedies that allow you to call this woman a martyr and a sinner in equal measure.
Childhood and youth
Piaf was born in December 1915. Her parents are the failed actress Annetta Maillard and the acrobat Louis Gassion. They earned a living as they could. The girl was born in the First World War. Her father went to the front and her mother sent the baby to her grandmother. The woman abused alcohol and the granddaughter became for her the real burden. So, she mixed wine to keep her asleep in the bottle of milk.
Gassion, who returned from the front, found his daughter in a terrible state. The exhausted, never washed, with festering eyes girl melted the heart of a soldier. Louis took the baby to Normandy to his elderly mother. The 3-year-old Édith Giovanna Gassion so sounds the present name of Piaf, finally felt departure and attention. Her grandma was horrified to notice that the granddaughter is blind. As it turned out, the former, tipsy "nurse" did not see the developed keratitis.
There is a legend that Saint Teresa managed to cure the blind Édith Giovanna, to whom thousands of pilgrims from all over the country gathered every year. According to other reports, the baby was healed in the hospital but the grandmother prayed tirelessly for her enlightenment of St. Teresa. Whatever it was, Édith`s vision returned. Since then, the portrait of Saint was always with her until the end of her life.
And it would not happen if not the place, in which young Édith Piaf had to live with her good old woman. It was a brothel. According to one information, the woman worked here as a servant. On the other, she kept the house. The little girl was bullied at school so that she had to leave school. Grandmother sent 9-year-old granddaughter to her father in Paris.
Louis Gassion barely survived. He fed eight children, half-brothers and sisters of Édith. Everything that her dad could do for his older daughters was to take the child with him to work. He performed acrobatics in the streets and squares.
It was discovered that his daughter could sing. When the man spoke, a tiny girl sang some simple song. Pitiful passers-by, looking at the singing child in beggar rags, donated more money.
The creative biography of Édith Piaf began on the street. When the girl was 14 years old, she began to live an independent life, earned a room, singing in various hot spots. She was skinny, ugly, with vulgar tinted lips and eyes, in bright, not seen washing rags, it looked terrible. But her voice was magnificent.
The owner of the cabaret noticed the street singer. When this ungainly girl came out to sing on the stage, everyone froze. Surprisingly, but she seemed unusually beautiful in these minutes. The store owner Louis Dupont fell in love with the singer from the cabaret. They started living together. Piaf became a mother at the age of 17. But she could sit with her baby not for days. The scene has long been her favorite place, outside of which she could not her imagine the life.
Dupont moved the baby to his home to force the "negligent mother" to stay at home. He hoped that his wife would return to him. But her daughter fell ill with raging meningitis in Paris, which doctors did not know how to treat at that time. Édith Piaf came to the girl in the hospital and was also infected. She managed to recover but her daughter was gone. The singer never had children. She left Louis after all.
In 1935, the 20-year-old singer came to the attention of the owner of the cabaret "Gernis," which was located on the Champs Elysees. Leplée compared this priceless find with a raw diamond. He came up with her stage name Piaf (The Little Sparrow). The future star was taught everything: to work with an accompanist, to dress with taste, to behave on the stage correctly, to follow facial expressions, to gesticulate.
Some biographers write that Leplée treated her unkindly. He could slap the actress quickly. But he achieved the desired result. A new star began to shine on the stage. On the first posters, her name sounded like "Baby Piaf." The success was unexpectedly loud.
A debut performance on the radio allowed her to become famous all over the country. Radio listeners filled up the editorial office with letters, demanding "Baby Piaf." The rapid rise followed by a fall. Finally, Leplée was found dead. Piaf was in the circle of suspects because Leplée also mentioned her in his will. The bullying started in the newspapers. The audience staged a brawl during the performances of the singer.
A new takeoff occurred after a meeting with the famous poet Raymond Asso. He taught the rising star everything. Also credited with the creation of her style. The poet-songwriter wrote especially "for her" compositions Paris-Méditerranée, Elle frequentait la rue Pigalle, Mon légionnaire.
The composer Marguerite Monnot joined the tandem. She created the songs Marie la Française, Hymne à l'amour.
Asso made a performance of Édith Piaf on the stage of the most famous music hall in Paris, "ABC." The production on these platforms was equal to the descent of the ship on the big water. After the first performance, all Parisian newspapers wrote about the birth of the great French singer Édith Piaf.
During the Second World War, the star left Asso and began working with Jean Cocteau, a famous French director. He shot the singer in his film Le bel indifferent. A year later, in 1941, the actress reappeared on the screen in Georges Lacombe`s movie Montmartre sur Seine.
It is known that the French legend contributed to the approach of victory. She performed in front of French prisoners of war and was photographed with them after the concert. The prisoners could escape from the camp with these images, that were made for documents.
The popularity of the singer in the postwar period was grandiose. In 1955, Piaf performed at the Olympia Bruno Coquatrix, the legendary concert hall. After the performance, she immediately went on a multi-month tour across America.
The star was very sick. Her health, undermined by severe illnesses, alcohol and drugs, which she suppressed the pain of acute arthritis, this trip undermined completely. The singer spent several months in the hospital.
In 1961, she was diagnosed with liver cancer. And in September 1962, the whole of Paris heard the French singer. Édith Piaf sang her best songs "Non, je ne regrette rien," "Milord" and "Le droit d'aimer" to her compatriots from the height of the Eiffel tower. She came out to fans last time on March 31, 1963. It was the Opéra de Lille.
There were stories about her affairs. Surprisingly, this small, caricature woman, who wasn't actually beautiful, had incredible power over men. She broke up with her lovers when she barely came to her understanding that her feelings were cooled.
So, for example, she did with the 23-year-old Yves Montand, she made him his way to the stage and taught everything, after two years of marriage. There are rumors about her affair with the Hollywood star Marlene Dietrich. Allegedly, these two legendary women were connected not only by friendly feelings.
During her tour of America, the star met with a famous compatriot, the boxer Marcel Cerdan. He became the main man in the life of Édith Piaf. At the time of their acquaintance, Cerdan had a wife and three sons. But he could not resist this great small woman. He was torn between his family and Piaf until the end of his life. Wherever he was, he ran as fast as he could if Édith called him.
It happened on that terrible October day in 1949. She invited Marcel to New York, where she was touring. Cerdan dropped everything and flew out. His plane crashed near the Azores. The remains of Marcel were identified by the watch presented to him of Piaf. The star used morphine, alcohol and work from the most profound depression.
The personal life of Édith Piaf got a chance to change when the singer was 36 years old. She married the singer Jacques Pills but the marriage broke up soon. She never learned how to build a family nest and create comfort. Her home was a courtyard with a grand piano in half a room, poor furniture and traces of desolation.
The son of Greek immigrants, Theophanis Lamboukas wandered in this dwelling at the end of the life of Édith. He was her long-time fan. It was the last passion of the singer. Their 20-year age difference, like all other conventions, did not interest the woman. She knew her terrible diagnosis – cancer at that time.
Édith married young Theophanis. She invented his stage name Théo Sarapo and even tried to bring him on the scene out the last fading forces. The attempt failed. Newspapers were choking with angry articles about Alphonse and his elderly patroness. However, they were happy.
Sarapo looked at this emaciated disease with adoration, almost bald woman and cared for her until the last days. He took her out and fed her. So, their joint family life lasted, was 11 months. But Théo didn't survive Édith long. He was killed in a car crash seven years later after her death.
On October 10, 1963, the legend was gone. The church refused to sing her funeral and perform the funeral ceremony, explaining that the whole life of Édith Piaf was a sin.
But fans of the singer did not think so. More than 40 thousand people gathered at the cemetery of Père Lachaise, where the star was buried. They brought so many flowers that they covered the whole alley to the grave with a thick ball. Édith Piaf had a net worth of $20 million dollars.