PARIS | Icon of French song, Juliette Gréco died Wednesday at the age of 93 after more than 60 years of a career during which she interpreted the texts of the greatest, from Vian to Prévert, passing by Aznavour and Gainsbourg.
“Juliette Gréco passed away on Wednesday September 23, 2020 surrounded by her family in her beloved house in Ramatuelle. His life was extraordinary, ”the family said in a text sent to AFP.
“She was still shining French song at 89 years old,” she added. Until the stroke (cerebrovascular accident) which had struck her in 2016, year in which she also lost her only daughter Laurence-Marie.
Until recently, the one who also triumphed on television in the Belphégor series in 1965, proclaimed her unconditional love of song.
“I miss that terribly. My reason for living is to sing! Singing is the total thing, there is the body, the instinct, the head, ”she said in an interview published in July in the weekly Télérama .
“It is a very great lady who is leaving”, responded to AFP Alexandre Baud, producer of his last tour. “Juliette had been tired for some time, but she had kept her mind extremely sharp as evidenced by her unbridled interview with Télérama ”.
Born February 7, 1927 in Montpellier, she began her career in the post-war period, in a liberated Paris where the very young woman then seduced, by her beauty and her spirit, the intellectuals and artists of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. .
“Saint-Germain has lost its muse. Saint-Germain existed through Juliette. Saint-Germain is in mourning and weeps for her. I am very sad. Juliette was more of a performer than a singer. She said the poets, ”Line Renaud told AFP.
On stage, Juliette Gréco first sings Raymond Queneau or Jean-Paul Sartre to whom she owes her first successes, Si tu t'imagines … and La Rue des Blancs-Manteaux . From 1954, it was the consecration with a first visit to the Olympia.
Over time, she broadens her repertoire with Prévert, Desnos, Vian, Cosma. Or Charles Aznavour who signs Je hais les Sundanches , Léo Ferré his pretty kid or Serge Gainsbourg who offers him La Javanaise .
Much more recently, the one who survived the fashions also sings Olivia Ruiz and Benjamin Biolay, or even Miossec, who wrote her very last song, Merci , presented in 2015, the year she begins her farewell tour.
“I met her, but I did not really know her, she remained for me an absolute icon”, commented on RTL the Minister of Culture Roselyne Bachelot.
“My favorite is obviously the song Undress me . Juliette Gréco makes an entire masterpiece, she has made a masterpiece of her life and this transgressive song is the symbol of this code breaker, of this image breaker, ”he said. she adds.
A Undress me that she still sang while celebrating her 89th birthday on stage in Paris: “I shouldn't sing it, I know, I know, but I'm going to do it”, she said then, mischievously, at the Théâtre de la Ville, where she premiered this song in 1968.
“Juliette was a very great lady of French song, iconic of the Paris of Saint-Germain-des-Près. It is a wonderful and fabulous performer who is leaving us, ”singer Mireille Mathieu told AFP.
Divorced from actor Philippe Lemaire, father of his only daughter, then from actor Michel Piccoli, Juliette Gréco married in 1988 her pianist and arranger Gérard Jouannest, who died in 2018.