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."
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)
- 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.