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 Édith Piaf

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Édith Piaf Famous memorial

Original Name
Édith Giovanna Gassion
Birth
Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France
Death
10 Oct 1963 (aged 47)
Plascassier, Departement des Alpes-Maritimes, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France
Burial
Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France
Plot
Division 97
Memorial ID
1334 View Source

Singer. She was a French singer of the first half of the 20th century, who singing fame was worldwide and had developed a cult-following among the working class. Her childhood resembled an abusive role in a television soap opera. Born Edith Gassion, she was the daughter of a cabaret singer and a circus acrobat-performing father. Shortly after birth, she was abandoned by her mother. She was then left in the care of her grandmother, who managed a brothel and passed her to a disinterested aunt, before her father took her on the road with the circus. At age three, she experienced blindness as the result of a virus, and allegedly recovered her sight after taken on a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Saint Therese de Lisieue in Paris. She had little formal education and suffered malnutrition while living in poverty and squalor, mainly in the Belleville section of Paris. At times homeless and sleeping on the street, she made an income by singing and begging. She was petite at under 5-foot tall and weighing about ninety pounds. At the age of 17, she had a relationship with a man, which produced a daughter, who died at age two. This relationship would be the beginning of many relationships she had during her lifetime. In 1935, she was noticed by Louis Leplée, a proprietor of a swank dinner club located along the Champs-Elysees. She began to sing in his club. With Leplee's guidance, she was transformed into a star, taught vocal techniques and social etiquette. When Leplee was murdered the next year by organized crime figures, she was accused of being an accessory, however, she was acquitted. With a new manager, she was christened with the new surname "Piaf'' or French-little sparrow, giving her a new successful start from the negative publicity of the murder. Prior to the start of World War II, she was on the way to fame. She was a captive during the war but active. Famous artist, Jean Cocteau, wrote her a hit play entitled "Le Bel Indifferent." During the Nazi occupation of France, she was free to make her first movie, and her singing performances were in great demand by high-ranking Nazis. Although many Frenchman thought she was collaborating with the Nazis, she was actually working with the French Resistance, helping French prisoners to escape with counterfeit documents. Her heroic actions were noted at the war's end. After the war, she toured Europe, the United States and South America, becoming an internationally known figure. She had many recordings which sold over a million copies. She wrote her own signature song during the war, "La Vie en Rose," which was a best-seller in the United States. She appeared on the television show "The Ed Sullivan Show" eight times, and at Carnegie Hall in 1956 and again in 1957. Tragedy, hardship and poor health plagued her from the day of her birth. On three occasions she was seriously injured in car accidents but survived each encounter. She fought the chronic pain from the accidents with pills and alcohol, which led to abuse. Among her many romantic relationships was most notably Marcel Cerdan the boxing champion, who was killed in an airline crash in 1949. On September 20, 1952, she married Rene Ducos and the couple divorced in 1956. At age 46, she married the 26-year-old singer Theo Sarapo and the couple remained married until her death. She collapsed while performing in New York at the Mark Helinger Theater and endured several major surgeries for a perforated ulcer and internal hemorrhaging. Diagnosed with liver cancer, she returned to a residence she maintained at Cannes. Near death, wishing to die in Paris, she hired an ambulance to take her there, dying in route. At her apartment located near Bois de Boulogne, she was placed on her bed for viewing. Her cult-following of thousands of fans clamored to view her remains, lined the streets of Paris as her flower-laden hearse passed by, and became a hysterical mob at the cemetery. Her notorious personal lifestyle was seized upon by the Archbishop of Paris, denying her a Roman Catholic funeral mass at Notre Dame Cathedral. The Government-owned French radio cancelled its scheduled programming to play a tribute to her and her music. Finally, a brief graveside service was performed by a Catholic chaplain, who ministered to the artist colony in the city. She was buried with her daughter and later, her widower Sarapo was buried with her. She was in financial shambles at her death, leaving her young husband with the consequences. Her friend, artist Jean Cocteau, wrote the preface to her 1958 autobiography, "Au Bal de la Chance" or "Wheel of Fortune." A second autobiography was published posthumously in 1964, "My Life." She has been the subject of several biographies, theatrical plays and movies. Her childhood home on rue Crespin Gu Gast in Paris became a private museum dedicated to the life and music of the star, displaying the singer's photographs, jewelry, furniture, and other memorabilia.

Singer. She was a French singer of the first half of the 20th century, who singing fame was worldwide and had developed a cult-following among the working class. Her childhood resembled an abusive role in a television soap opera. Born Edith Gassion, she was the daughter of a cabaret singer and a circus acrobat-performing father. Shortly after birth, she was abandoned by her mother. She was then left in the care of her grandmother, who managed a brothel and passed her to a disinterested aunt, before her father took her on the road with the circus. At age three, she experienced blindness as the result of a virus, and allegedly recovered her sight after taken on a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Saint Therese de Lisieue in Paris. She had little formal education and suffered malnutrition while living in poverty and squalor, mainly in the Belleville section of Paris. At times homeless and sleeping on the street, she made an income by singing and begging. She was petite at under 5-foot tall and weighing about ninety pounds. At the age of 17, she had a relationship with a man, which produced a daughter, who died at age two. This relationship would be the beginning of many relationships she had during her lifetime. In 1935, she was noticed by Louis Leplée, a proprietor of a swank dinner club located along the Champs-Elysees. She began to sing in his club. With Leplee's guidance, she was transformed into a star, taught vocal techniques and social etiquette. When Leplee was murdered the next year by organized crime figures, she was accused of being an accessory, however, she was acquitted. With a new manager, she was christened with the new surname "Piaf'' or French-little sparrow, giving her a new successful start from the negative publicity of the murder. Prior to the start of World War II, she was on the way to fame. She was a captive during the war but active. Famous artist, Jean Cocteau, wrote her a hit play entitled "Le Bel Indifferent." During the Nazi occupation of France, she was free to make her first movie, and her singing performances were in great demand by high-ranking Nazis. Although many Frenchman thought she was collaborating with the Nazis, she was actually working with the French Resistance, helping French prisoners to escape with counterfeit documents. Her heroic actions were noted at the war's end. After the war, she toured Europe, the United States and South America, becoming an internationally known figure. She had many recordings which sold over a million copies. She wrote her own signature song during the war, "La Vie en Rose," which was a best-seller in the United States. She appeared on the television show "The Ed Sullivan Show" eight times, and at Carnegie Hall in 1956 and again in 1957. Tragedy, hardship and poor health plagued her from the day of her birth. On three occasions she was seriously injured in car accidents but survived each encounter. She fought the chronic pain from the accidents with pills and alcohol, which led to abuse. Among her many romantic relationships was most notably Marcel Cerdan the boxing champion, who was killed in an airline crash in 1949. On September 20, 1952, she married Rene Ducos and the couple divorced in 1956. At age 46, she married the 26-year-old singer Theo Sarapo and the couple remained married until her death. She collapsed while performing in New York at the Mark Helinger Theater and endured several major surgeries for a perforated ulcer and internal hemorrhaging. Diagnosed with liver cancer, she returned to a residence she maintained at Cannes. Near death, wishing to die in Paris, she hired an ambulance to take her there, dying in route. At her apartment located near Bois de Boulogne, she was placed on her bed for viewing. Her cult-following of thousands of fans clamored to view her remains, lined the streets of Paris as her flower-laden hearse passed by, and became a hysterical mob at the cemetery. Her notorious personal lifestyle was seized upon by the Archbishop of Paris, denying her a Roman Catholic funeral mass at Notre Dame Cathedral. The Government-owned French radio cancelled its scheduled programming to play a tribute to her and her music. Finally, a brief graveside service was performed by a Catholic chaplain, who ministered to the artist colony in the city. She was buried with her daughter and later, her widower Sarapo was buried with her. She was in financial shambles at her death, leaving her young husband with the consequences. Her friend, artist Jean Cocteau, wrote the preface to her 1958 autobiography, "Au Bal de la Chance" or "Wheel of Fortune." A second autobiography was published posthumously in 1964, "My Life." She has been the subject of several biographies, theatrical plays and movies. Her childhood home on rue Crespin Gu Gast in Paris became a private museum dedicated to the life and music of the star, displaying the singer's photographs, jewelry, furniture, and other memorabilia.


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 25 Apr 1998
  • Find a Grave Memorial ID: 1334
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/1334/%C3%A9dith-piaf: accessed ), memorial page for Édith Piaf (19 Dec 1915–10 Oct 1963), Find a Grave Memorial ID 1334, citing Cimetière du Père Lachaise, Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France; Maintained by Find a Grave.