Friday, November 27, 2020

Juliette Gréco, an icon for French singing, died at the age of 93

Juliette Gréco, large lady with French singing, died on Wednesday 93 years old. A friend of poets and musicians, she embodied the spirit of Saint-Germain-des-Prés.

The icon for the French song Juliette Gréco, also known for her interpretation of Belphégor on television, died on Wednesday at the age of 93, her family told AFP. “Juliette Gréco died on Wednesday, September 23, 2020, surrounded by her loved ones in her beloved house in Ramatuelle. Her life was extraordinary,” the family said in a text sent to AFP. “Passion, fight, love and intense fun,” the singer said to sum up his life.

“She still got French singing to shine for 89 years,” adds her family. Until the stroke that hit her in 2016, the year she also lost her only daughter Laurence-Marie.

“Black meadow rose”

“Gréco, black rose on the farms. From school for unwise children,” as Raymond Queneau paints it. Because Juliette Gréco was not wise.

High cheekbones, a look outlined in black under brown hair, thin white hands fluttering over a dark dress, the singer before Barbara is on stage a tall black lady.

“I’m a clown in life and then I like to laugh. The biggest asset to seduction is humor, therefore intelligence, mockery,” she said a few years ago.

Juliette Gréco was born on February 7, 1927 in Montpellier. With her sister Charlotte, she grew up near Bordeaux with her grandparents after her parents separated.

Her childhood is melancholic, she expresses herself especially through dance. The war frightens the family into a property in Périgord that serves as a crossroads for the resistance. In 1943, her mother and sister were deported, she herself was imprisoned in Fresnes for ten days.

She will tell about this period of her life in an autobiography published in 1983, “Jujube”.

At the end of the war she was not 20 years old, her muted air, her beauty, her freedom of pace and tone seduced intellectuals and artists in Saint-Germain-des-Prés. She visits Duras, Sartre, Beauvoir and hosts the evenings in the legendary cabaret “Le Tabou”. Young people explode in a liberated Paris where existentialism is born within the walls of the clubs. Juliette Gréco meets Miles Davis with whom she will have an affair.

“Pretty kid” from Saint-Germain-des-Près

Raymond Queneau and Jean-Paul Sartre signed her first hits, “Si tu t’imagines …” and “La Rue des Blancs-Manteaux”. Over time, she broadens her repertoire with Prévert, Desnos, Vian, Cosma, Aznavour. “Jolie môme” performed at Olympia for the first time in 1954 and that was the inauguration.

After a lightning marriage with Philippe Lemaire, of whom she has a daughter Laurence-Marie, who died of cancer in 2016, the same year that Juliette Greco suffered a stroke, in the 1960s she played the greatest writers of the time, Gainsbourg, Béart, Ferré, Brel , Brassens. “I have met the most ‘amazing’ people there are,” she admits.

Juliette Gréco is the archetype of the modern woman: “I was long before my time, I was also an object of absolute scandal, I never look for this kind of thing, I am so, I can not help it”.

“These are the words that dictate the gesture”

An actress by invitation, she starred in “Bonjour tristesse” in 1958, an adaptation of Sagan’s novel shot by Otto Preminger, during her affair with the American producer Darryl Zanuck. But it was her role in the soap opera “Belphégor” that made her win on the small screen in 1965.

Over the years, she toured extensively abroad with the same beliefs and the same political commitments. After a second marriage to the actor Michel Piccoli, she married Gérard Jouannest, the former pianist and friend of Jacques Brel in 1988, who also accompanies her on stage.

Juliette Gréco has survived time and fashion. Young singers wrote him songs in his latest album: Olivia Ruiz, Benjamin Biolay, Abd Al Malik or Miossec, who wrote their very last song “Merci”, which was presented in the autumn of 2015.

And their words she uttered with joy were for her “absolute nourishment.”

“These are the words that dictate the gesture, down to the fingertips,” said the person who launched a fantastic farewell trip in the spring of 2015, during which she celebrated her 89 years on stage at the Théâtre de la Ville, where she had created her greatest success in 1968, the mischievous “Undress me”.

With AFP

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