Édith Piaf  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Édith Piaf (19 December 1915 – 11 October 1963), born Édith Giovanna Gassion, was a French singer who became widely regarded as France's national popular singer, as well as being one of France's greatest international stars. Her singing reflected her life, with her specialty being of Chanson and ballads, particularly of love, loss and sorrow. Among her songs are "La Vie en rose" (1946), "Non, je ne regrette rien" (1960), "Hymne à l'amour" (1949), "Milord" (1959), "La Foule" (1957), "l'Accordéoniste" (1955), and "Padam ... Padam ..." (1951).

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Death and legacy

Piaf died of liver cancer at age 47 at her villa in Plascassier (Grasse), on the French Riviera, on 11 October 1963. She had been drifting in and out of consciousness for several months. It is said that Sarapo drove her body back to Paris secretly so that fans would think she had died in her hometown. She is buried in Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris next to her daughter Marcelle, where her grave is among the most visited.

Although she was denied a funeral mass by the Roman Catholic archbishop of Paris because of her lifestyle, her funeral procession drew tens of thousands of mourners onto the streets of Paris and the ceremony at the cemetery was attended by more than 100,000 fans. Charles Aznavour recalled that Piaf's funeral procession was the only time since the end of World War II that he saw Parisian traffic come to a complete stop.

In Paris, a two-room museum is dedicated to her, the Musée Édith Piaf (5, Rue Crespin du Gast).

In popular culture

Numerous songs by Piaf are used in films (such as Saving Private Ryan, Inception, Bull Durham, La Haine, The Dreamers and the animated film, "Madagascar 3") and other media. Love Me If You Dare pays a tribute to her song La Vie En Rose by including various versions of the song in its soundtrack. Singers have paid tribute to her by covering her songs. Piaf's name can still be found in popular culture and music today. Her life has been the subject of multiple films and plays:

Films of her life

The film Piaf (1974) depicted her early years, and starred Brigitte Ariel, with early Piaf songs performed by Betty Mars.

Piaf's relationship with Cerdan was also depicted in film by Claude Lelouch in the movie Édith et Marcel (1983), with Marcel Cerdan Jr. in the role of his father and Évelyne Bouix portraying Piaf.

Piaf...Her Story...Her Songs (2003) is a film starring Raquel Bitton in her performance tribute to Édith Piaf. Bitton performs Piaf's most famous songs and describes her tempestuous life. Woven into the filmed concert is a luncheon in Paris, hosted by Bitton, in which some of Piaf's composers, friends, lovers, and family share their memories. These include Michel Rivgauche and Francis Lai, two of Piaf's composers, as well as Marcel Cerdan, Jr., son of the boxing champion who was her greatest love.

La Vie en rose (2007), a film about her life directed by Olivier Dahan, debuted at the Berlin Film Festival in February 2007. Titled La Môme in France, the film stars Marion Cotillard in the role that won her the Academy Award for Best Actress (Oscar), as Piaf. Dahan's film follows Piaf's life from early childhood to her death in 1963. David Bret's 1988 biography, Piaf, A Passionate Life, was re-released by JR Books to coincide with the film's release.

See also





Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Édith Piaf" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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