(Edith Giovanna Gassion; Paris, 1915 - Provence, 1963) French lyricist and singer. His life was marked by misfortune since his early childhood, which exerted a decisive influence on his style interpretive, lyric and torn at the same time. Their helpless appearance earned him the name by which he is universally known: Piaf ("Sparrow").
Daughter of a contortionist Acrobat and a singer of cabaret, his childhood was sad. His parents separated soon; mother, drunk and sick, left Edith custody to her husband (also alcoholic) and a paternal grandmother. Given the precarious economic situation of the family, Edith had to earn a few coins singing in streets and cafes of Paris.
The situation worsened when Edith, 16, became pregnant. In 1932, he had a daughter who called Marcelle, but died two years later. The singer's life was marked by this tragedy. He continued singing in cafes and clubs in the Pigalle Street, in the world surrounding the least recommended districts of the Paris of the time.
His life changed when, singing in the street, a very elegant passerby stopped to listen to it. That man turned out to be Louis Leplée, owner of the cabaret Gerny completo, one of the best known in Paris. After a small test, Edith was immediately hired. Its success was soon to arrive and was known as "Môme Piaf" ("little Sparrow"). The own Leplée instructed Edith to turn it into a great figure of the cabaret. It was 1937, and a new star was born: Edith Piaf.
However, life returned to punish the young Sparrow, Leplée was found shot dead in the club that ran; the singer was suspected of the murder. The press accused her and the Parisian elite society turned his back. He returned to mingle with the worst of the slums of Paris, singing in slums and a disorderly life.
His consecration came after the second world war, when she became the Muse of poets and intellectuals of the Existentialist Paris and earned the public's unconditional admiration. A lyricist known as Raymond Asso, who was her lover, helped her overcome. Edith Piaf back from the flight and returned to the big stage of France, Europe and America. Became a friend of the actress Marlene Dietrich and became the Grande Dame of the French song, helping emerging talents such as Charles Aznavour, Yves Montand, Georges Moustaki, or Gilbert Bécaud, and interacting with intellectuals like Jean Cocteau.
In 1946 he travelled to New York and met the love of his life, the Boxer Marcel Cerdan, who died in 1949 to crash the plane that was traveling. Edith this again sank into a deep depression, who overcame alcohol-based and tranquilizers. At the same time was the time of his greatest hits: La vie on rose or Les trois cloches.
In 1950 he collaborated with Charles Aznavour songs as Jezebel; was also the year in that triumphed in Olympia, while in 1956 he would do so at the Carnegie Hall in New York. After an accident, Edith was ailing and became addicted to morphine. A long list of diseases you were diagnosed, and in 1959 it was discovered cancer.
His last years she lived away from the stage with her new husband, the Greek Theo Lambukas. In June 1961 was awarded by the Academy Charles Cros for his entire artistic career. He died on October 11, 1963 in Provence. At his funeral, the funeral procession was followed by a crowd of 40,000 people.
Among the many songs popularized Mon legionnaire, Je ne regrette rien, La vie in rose, Les amants de Paris, Hymne a L'Amour, Mon dieu and my Lord. Also acted in movies (French-can can, Étoile sans Lumière, Paris chante toujours) and had other romances with singers from the relief of Yves Montand or Charles Aznavour, Georges Moustaki. In the last years of his life he wrote an autobiography under the title of Au bal du chance.