Sarah Bernhardt

Sarah Bernhardt

[burn-hahrt; Fr. ber-nar]
Bernhardt, Sarah, 1844-1923, stage name of Rosine Bernard, French actress, b. Paris. At age 13 she entered the Paris Conservatory, and later attracted attention during appearances at the Odéon (1866-72). With the Comédie Française (1872-80) she attained full stature with her superb portrayals of Phèdre (1874) and of Doña Sol in Hugo's Hernani (1877). In 1880 she began her tours of Europe and the United States. She managed several theaters in Paris before leasing the Théâtre des Nations, renaming it the Théâtre Sarah Bernhardt. Here she revived some of her former successes and appeared in the title role of Hamlet (1899) and in Rostand's L'Aiglon, which was written for her in 1901. In 1912 she appeared in the silent films La Dame aux camélias and Queen Elizabeth. She also wrote plays in which she appeared. Among them were L'Aveu (1898) and Un cɶur d'homme (1909).

See her memoirs (tr. 1907); biographies by J. Huret (1899), M. Baring (1934), L. Verneuil (1942), A. W. Row (1957), C. O. Skinner (1967), and G. Taranow (1972).

orig. Henriette-Rosine Bernard

Sarah Bernhardt, photograph by Napoleon Sarony, 1880.

(born Oct. 22/23, 1844, Paris, France—died March 26, 1923, Paris) French actress. The illegitimate child of a courtesan, she was encouraged to pursue a theatrical career by one of her mother's lovers, the duke de Morny. After a brief appearance at the Comédie-Française (1862–63), she joined the Odéon theatre (1866–72), where she acted in Kean by Alexandre Dumas père and Ruy Blas by Victor Hugo, charming audiences with her “golden voice.” Returning to the Comédie-Française (1872–80), she starred in Phèdre to great acclaim in Paris and London. She formed her own company in 1880 and toured the world in The Lady of the Camellias by Alexandre Dumas fils, Adrienne Lecouvreur by Eugène Scribe, four plays written for her by Victorien Sardou, and The Eaglet by Edmond Rostand. After an injury to her leg forced its amputation (1915), she strapped on a wooden leg and chose roles she could play largely seated. One of the best-known figures in the history of the stage, she was made a member of France's Legion of Honour in 1914.

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Sarah Bernhardt (October 22, 1844 – March 26, 1923) was a French stage actress, and has been referred to as "the most famous actress in the history of the world". Bernhardt made her fame on the stages of Europe in the 1870s, and was soon in demand in Europe and the Americas. She developed a reputation as a serious dramatic actress, earning the nickname "The Divine Sarah."

Early life

She was born in Paris as Sarah-Marie-Henriette Rosine Bernard, the daughter of Julie Bernardt and a father of Dutch nationality. She added the letter "H" to both her first and last name, and used the name of Édouard Bernardt, her mother's brother, as the name of her father. This was probably done to hide the fact that her father was unknown. Her grandfather, Moritz Bernardt, was a Jewish merchant in Amsterdam. Most likely, her Jewish mother was also born in Amsterdam.

Much of the uncertainty about Bernhardt's life arises because of her tendency to exaggerate and distort. Some claim she was born in Iowa and ran away to Paris, where she assumed a new identity as a French citizen to begin a stage career. Alexandre Dumas, fils (the author of La Dame aux camélias, in which she appeared almost 3000 times) described her as a notorious liar. Georges Clairin (1843 - 1919) oil painting on canvas]]

  • Phèdre (1902)
  • Le Lac (The Lake) (1902)
  • La Fiancée du Timbalier (1902)
  • Lucie (1902)
  • Le Lac (1903)
  • La Samaritaine (1903)
  • Les Vieux (The Old Ones) (1903)
  • Un Évangile (A Gospel) (1903)
  • Phèdre (1903)
  • La Mort d'Izéil (The Death of Izéil) (1903)
  • La Rêverie de Théroigne de Méricourt (The Dream of Théroigne de Méricourt) (1903)
  • Un Peu de Musique (A Little Music) (1903)
  • L'Aiglon (The Eaglet) (1910)
  • Phèdre (1910)
  • Les Buffons (The Buffoons) (1908)
  • La Samaritaine (1910)
  • L'Étoile dans la Nuit (The Star in the Night) (1918)
  • Prière pour nos Ennemis (A Prayer for our Enemies) (1918)

References

Further reading

  • Lorcey, Jacques. Sarah Bernhardt, l'art et la vie, Paris : Éditions Séguier, 2005. 160 pages. Avec une préface d'Alain Feydeau. ISBN 2-84049-417-5.
  • Menefee, David W. Sarah Bernhardt in the Theater of Films and Sound Recordings. North Carolina: McFarland, 2003.
  • Menefee, David W. The First Female Stars: Women of the Silent Era. Connecticut: Praeger, 2004.
  • Skinner, Cornelia Otis. Madame Sarah. Paragon House, 1966.

External links

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