Sarah Bernhardt Poster


Jump to: Overview (5)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (1)  | Trivia (13)  | Personal Quotes (3)

Overview (5)

Born in Paris, France
Died in Paris, France  (kidney failure)
Birth NameHenriette-Rosine Bernard
Nicknames la voix d'or
The Divine Sarah
Height 5' 3" (1.6 m)

Mini Bio (1)

This celebrated star of the French stage had a sporadic love-hate affair with early cinema. After her film debut in Le duel d'Hamlet (1900) she declared she detested the medium; yet she consented to appear in another film, La Tosca (1909). Upon seeing the results, she reportedly recoiled in horror, demanding that the negative be destroyed. Her next film appearance, in the Film d'Art production of Camille (1912), was a critical and popular success, helping give cinema artistic dignity. The following year she made Queen Elizabeth (1912) in Britain. The receipts from this film's distribution in the US provided Adolph Zukor with the funds to found Paramount. Bernhardt, at 69, was offered a fortune to make films with other companies, but stayed with Film d'Art, appearing in Adrienne Lecouvreur (1913). She appeared in two more pictures after losing a leg in 1915, Jeanne Doré (1915) and Mothers of France (1917), both produced as WWI morale boosters. In 1923, when she was 79, her hotel room was turned into a studio so that she could appear in the film The Clairvoyant (1924). But her failing health halted production and she died before the film was completed. She was portrayed on the screen by Glenda Jackson in The Incredible Sarah (1976).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Daniel Yates <kamerad76@hotmail.com>

Spouse (1)

Damala, Ambroise Aristide (1882 - 1898) ( his death)

Trivia (13)

In 1912, became the first great actress of the stage to appear in the new medium of films.
Godmother of actor Jean Angelo.
Her great-granddaughter, Terka, married a grandson of Georges Clemenceau.
Her only child, son Maurice Bernhardt, was born 1864; his father was Belgian Prince Henri de Ligne. Shortly before Maurice's wedding his father, the Prince de Ligne, told Maurice that he was prepared to officially recognise him and offered him his name and a substantial fortune. Maurice replied that as his mother had raised him single-handedly and had made such great sacrifices in the process he preferred to remain a "Bernhardt".

An amusing event followed soon after. Maurice accompanied his father to la Gare du Nord to catch his train. There was an unusually long line and his father refused to wait. The Prince de Ligne demanded entry stating: "I am the Prince de Ligne". The platform controller was rather unimpressed and said he had never heard of him and told Prince Henri to take his place at the back of the line. Maurice then came forth and declared he was the son of Sarah Bernhardt. They were immediately ushered through. Maurice is alleged to have told his father that he hoped he now realised that the name "Bernhardt" also had its advantages.
She seemed a little worried by thoughts of death. At the age of 15 she bought a coffin in which sometimes she slept. On stage she preferred characters that died at drama's end.
She was fond of wild animals and held at home a lion and six chameleons. According to some biographies (probably more fanciful than reliable) she asked a surgeon to fasten her a tiger tail but that man replied it was impossible.
Her younger--by 12 years--husband, Aristide Damala, was a Greek diplomat who died in 1898, allegedly because of drugs and a generally vicious life. After his death she used to sign her own letters "Sarah Bernhardt, veuve Damala" ("widow Damala").
Another of her strange tastes was collecting chairs. She would have so many that they would fill all the homes she lived in. After a flight on a balloon she wrote a book entitled "Dans les nuages, impressions d'une chaise" ("In clouds, impressions of a chair").
While playing "La dame aux camélias" in an American theater, in front of a very noisy and boisterous audience she said: "If they don't keep quiet I'll die in the second act".
At Belle-Ile-de-la-Mer, a small island near the coast of Brittany, there's the "Sarah Bernhardt'2 chair", a seat she carved for herself in a niche in the cliffs by the sea.
Claimed to have had 1,000 different lovers.
The rosewood coffin that she sometimes slept in was lined with letters from her lovers.
She is interred at Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, France.

Personal Quotes (3)

Life engenders life. Energy creates energy. It is by spending oneself that one becomes rich.
We ought to hate very rarely, as it is too fatiguing, remain indifferent a great deal, forgive often, and never forget.
[when asked, following an amputation, whether she would be retiring] What's a leg?

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