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Piaf, Edith

Piaf, Edith pēäf´ [key], 1915–63, French cabaret singer, born as Edith Giovanna Gassion. She began to sing at 15 in cafés and on the streets of Paris and was soon engaged to sing in a cabaret. Fame quickly followed her appearances in nightclubs all over Europe and America. Piaf appeared in several movies, starring in Le Bel Indifférent (1940), originally a play written for her by Jean Cocteau . Her highly emotional and powerful voice was enormously expressive, and she wrote many of her own songs. Her performance of the songs Non, je ne regrette rien [I Regret Nothing] and Milord were especially cherished by international audiences.

See her memoirs, Au bal de la chance (1958, tr. 1965) biographies by S. Berteaut, her half-sister (1972), and by C. Burke (2011).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.