EDITH PIAF (1915–1963) was a French cabaret singer, songwriter and actress who was widely regarded as France's national chanteuse, as well as being one of France's greatest international stars. A street singer discovered by the nightclub owner who gave her the stage name Piaf (‘sparrow’), she rose to become a national heroine.
A friend of Marlene Dietrich, Charlie Chaplin, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Jean Cocteau and Maurice Chevalier, she was also at various times chief suspect for the murder of her mentor, an alcoholic and a drug addict. But she always seemed to embody – and still does – something of the spirit of Paris. Following her death in 1963, 40,000 people descended on Père Lachaise cemetery for her funeral, and many more around the world remain devotees of her music.