The legendary French singer was born on this day in 1915
Remembering “La Môme” Édith Piaf on her birthday
Édith Piaf was born Édith Giovanna Gassion on December 19, 1915, in Paris, France. She was a French singer born to a street acrobat, Louis-Alphonse Gassion, and Annetta Giovanna Maillard, a cafe singer. As an adolescent, she spent a short time performing with her father in his acrobatic street performances but left his act to become a street singer. In 1935, she was discovered by nightclub owner Louis Leplée, who nicknamed her La Môme Piaf, “The Little Sparrow”. This meeting catapulted the singer to enormous fame, both in France and internationally with songs such as “Milord”, “Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien” and “Mon Légionnaire”. Her signature song “La Vie en Rose” was written in 1945 and was given a Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1998. Today she is regarded as perhaps the most singularly popular French singer to have lived, and her soulful crooning gave a voice to the pains and pleasures of the heart. Piaf, however, lived the sort of life that was always destined to be written about, if only because so much tragedy came along with each success. Piaf was married three times, and she struggled with drugs and alcohol throughout. The love of her life, the married boxer Marcel Cerdan, who was a legend in France in his own right, was killed in a plane crash in October 1949, while flying to meet her in New York City. Piaf herself died in 1963 at the age of 47 from liver cancer and was denied a funeral mass by the Catholic Church because of her lifestyle, although her funeral procession drew thousands of mourners, and over 100,000 fans attended the ceremony. Her last words were “Every damn fool thing you do in this life, you pay for.” The 2007 film “La Vie en Rose” is a film about her life, directed by Olivier Dahan and starring Marion Cotillard as Édith. Cotillard won an Academy Award for Best Actress for the role.
Watch Édith Piaf performing “La Vie En Rose” in 1954
Listen to “Édith Piaf – 50 succès essentiels” the best of Édith Piaf on Spotify
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