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Yvonne Printemps

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b. Yvonne Wignolle (some sources give Wigniolle or Wigniole), 25 July 1895, Ermont, Val d’Oise, Île-de-France, France, d. 19 January 1977, Neuilly-sur-Seine, Île-de-France, Paris, France. While still in her teens, Printemps began singing in operettas in her homeland, appearing in shows such as Les Contes De Perrault (1913) and Le Poilu (1916). Although she had an excellent soprano singing voice, following her marriage to the distinguished French actor Sacha Guitry, she turned to dramatic roles and became highly successful and very famous. This fame spread outside France, owing to performances in London and New York of Mozart, in which she had first starred in Paris in 1925. Following her divorce from Guitry, Printemps was offered the leading role in Noël Coward’s Conversation Piece (1934), written for her and allowing her to use her attractive voice on several songs, most notably ‘I’ll Follow My Secret Heart’. The show was a hit in London’s West End and on Broadway in New York. In 1935 she returned to Paris to play in Les Trois Valses, also appearing in the film version. Despite her success in the musical theatre, Printemps’ heart lay in drama to which she returned for the rest of her career. So intent was she on this aspect of her talent, that she is reported to have refused the role of Aunt Alicia in Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe’s 1957 film musical Gigi.

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Birth Name:

Yvonne Wignolle (some give Wigniolle or Wigniole)


25 July 1894 in Ermont, France

Years Active:

'10s, '20s, '30s, '40s