Info
Category:
Richest CelebritiesSingers
Net Worth:
$2 Million
Birthdate:
Dec 19, 1915 - Oct 10, 1963 (47 years old)
Birthplace:
Belleville, Paris
Gender:
Female
Height:
4 ft 9 in (1.47 m)
Profession:
Singer, Songwriter, Actor
Nationality:
France
💰 Compare Édith Piaf's Net Worth

What was Édith Piaf's Net Worth?

Édith Piaf was a French singer of cabaret and modern chanson songs who had a net worth of $2 million at the time of her death in 1963. That's the same as around $20 million today after adjusting for inflation. Widely considered one of the greatest popular singers of the 20th century, her famous recordings include "La Vie en rose," "Milord," and "Non, je ne regrette rien." Piaf continued to perform until a few months before her passing at the age of 47 in 1963.

Early Life

Édith Piaf was born as Édith Gassion on December 19, 1915 in Paris, France to Louis Gassion, a circus performer and theater actor, and Annetta Maillard, a circus performer and singer. She was named after British nurse Edith Cavell, who was executed two months before Piaf's birth for helping French soldiers escape German captivity during World War I. After her birth, Piaf was abandoned by her mother, and she was subsequently brought up by her paternal grandmother Léontine, who ran a brothel in Normandy. At the brothel, prostitutes helped look after Piaf, who allegedly became blind as a result of keratitis. Reportedly, she gained her sight back after she went on a pilgrimage with her grandmother's prostitutes in honor of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux.

Career Beginnings

When she was 14, Piaf joined her father in his acrobatic street performances throughout France, where she began singing in public. The next year, she met her half-sister Simone, with whom she started touring. Later, in 1935, Piaf attracted the attention of nightclub owner Louis Leplée, who persuaded her to sing at his venue. Due to Piaf's diminutive height and extreme nervousness, Leplée nicknamed her "La Môme Piaf," or "The Little Sparrow." He helped her gain confidence by teaching her about stage presence and giving her a black dress, which would become her trademark apparel. Piaf's nightclub performances led to her first two records. In the spring of 1936, Leplée was murdered; Piaf was questioned but ultimately acquitted, as Leplée had been killed by mobsters. However, the murder drew negative media attention to Piaf. To save her image, she recruited lyricist Raymond Asso and officially adopted the stage name Édith Piaf.

International Stardom

Piaf rose to notoriety during World War II, particularly during the German occupation of France. She started developing friendships with various celebrities, and performed in a number of nightclubs and brothels for German officers and French Nazi collaborators. Because of this, Piaf was accused of collaborating with the Nazis, and had to testify before a trial after the war. Her secretary Andrée Bigard, who had been in the French Resistance, helped successfully testify on her behalf. Piaf quickly got back to performing, and in late 1944 accompanied Yves Montand in a performance for the Allied forces in Marseille. The following year, she wrote what would become her signature song, "La Vie en rose." Released as a single in 1947, the song gained popularity in the United States in 1950 when seven different versions hit the Billboard charts. Also in 1947, Piaf wrote the lyrics to "What Can I Do?"

From 1945 to 1955, Piaf was considered the most popular entertainer in France. She became internationally renowned and toured throughout Europe, the United States, and South America. Piaf became so celebrated in the US that she appeared on "The Ed Sullivan Show" eight times. She released a number of popular songs after "La Vie en rose," including "Hymne à l'amour," "Padam, padam…," "La Foule," "Milord," and "Non, je ne regrette rien." In 1956 and 1957, Piaf performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City. She also performed several series of concerts at the Olympia in Paris, continuing to do so until a few months before her passing in 1963. That year, she recorded her final song, "L'Homme de Berlin," with her husband.

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Film Career

Piaf appeared in a number of French films throughout her career. She made her debut in the 1936 film "La Garçonne," playing a chanteuse. In 1941, Piaf starred in the romantic comedy "Montmartre." After the war, she starred in the 1946 drama "Star Without Light" and the 1947 musical "Nine Boys, One Heart." In the 1950s, Piaf's credits included the musical comedy "Paris Still Sings," the comedy "Boum sur Paris," the historical drama "Royal Affairs in Versailles," and Jean Renoir's musical "French Cancan."

Personal Life and Death

In the 1930s, Piaf was romantically involved with lyricist Raymond Asso, who wrote songs for her reflecting her previous life on the streets. Later, during a tour in 1947, Piaf met and fell in love with professional boxer Marcel Cerdan. In October of 1949, Cerdan was killed when his flight from Paris to New York City crashed in Portugal. Piaf got into an accident of her own in 1951 when she and singer Charles Aznavour were in a car crash. Having sustained a broken arm and two broken ribs, Piaf was prescribed morphine, to which she developed an addiction. Her condition was compounded by two more near-fatal car crashes over the ensuing years. In 1952, Piaf married singer and actor Jacques Pills; they eventually divorced in 1957. She went on to marry singer and actor Théo Sarapo in 1962.

In 1963, Piaf went into a coma stemming from liver cancer. Taken to her villa on the French Riviera, she was nursed by her husband Théo and her half-sister Simone. Piaf drifted in and out of consciousness for a few months before passing away on October 10, 1963 at the age of 47. She was buried in Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, where her funeral ceremony was attended by over 100,000 people.

Legacy

Piaf left a legacy as one of the most renowned and popular singers of the 20th century, particularly in her native France. Since her passing, numerous books, plays, television programs, and films have been created about her life and career. Among the most notable films are "Piaf" (1974), "Édith et Marcel" (1983), and "La Vie en Rose" (2007), the lattermost of which won Marion Cotillard the Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Piaf.

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
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