YVONNE PRINTEMPS Biography - Theater, Opera and Movie personalities


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Yvonne Printemps, born July 25, 1895 in Ermont , Ile-de-France, France - died January 19, 1977 in Paris, France, was a singer and actress.


Born Yvonne Wignolle, she was dancing in revues at the Folies Bergere in Paris at age 13. Nicknamed Printemps (springtime) by her fellow chorus members because of her sunny disposition, she started in operetta, appearing in such works as “Les Contes de Perrault” (1913) and “Le Poilu” (1916). Her voice and stage presence made her a great star at a young age, appearing as a teenager with the greatest stars of the day, Maurice Chevalier and Mistinguett.


In 1919, she married actor-playwright Sacha Guitry. Together they performed in a number of his plays bringing the extremely popular 1925 production of “Mozart” to cities in North America, including New York City, Montreal, Quebec and Boston, Massachusetts.


In 1934 she received international acclaim for her performance in the Noel Coward play, “Conversation Piece.” She performed in Paris and at London’s West End before going to the United States to star on Broadway. She appeared in nine motion pictures, including the starring role in both the stage and screen versions of “Le Trois Valses.”


Following her divorce from Sacha Guitry, she fell in love with French film star Pierre Fresnay with whom she remained for life. Loving the spotlight, she would be seen draped with jewels and wearing enormous hats. Personifying the grand diva, she made a great spectacle wherever she went with her pet poodles on a leash.


She continued to perform on stage until she was well into her sixties and remained active with Pierre Fresnay, co-directing the Theatre de la Michodiere in Paris with him until his death in 1975.


Yvonne Printemps died in the Paris suburb of Neuilly on January 19, 1977.


In 1994, the government of France placed her image on a postage stamp.