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Fréhel

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Paris, France

Fréhel, born Marguerite Boulc’h on July 14, 1891 – died February 3, 1951, was a French singer and actress.
Born in Paris, France to a poor and dysfunctional family, Marguerite Boulc’h was a child left to a life on the streets in the dark side of Paris. In her teens she got a break when she met one of the female music-hall performers who heard her sing and introduced her to show business promoters. She began performing under the stage name “Pervenche” and soon met and married Robert Hollard, a performer who used the nom de guerre “Roberty.” Alcohol entered her life at an early age and her drinking became a problem for her husband. Their marriage did not last long and Boulc’h’s husband left her for the Parisian singer, Damia. Fréhel then began a relationship with Maurice Chevalier but that too did not last long and after he left her for the much older megastar Mistinguett, the distraught girl, still only 19 years old, attempted suicide.

Following her failed suicide attempt, in 1911 Marguerite Boulc’h tried to escape her pain and travelled to Bucharest, Turkey and then to Russia where she remained for more than ten years. Lost in a world of alcohol and drugs, she returned to Paris in 1923 to a shocked public that saw the wasted shadow of the singer they had known and loved.

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