Underrated Female #4: Mistinguett

10/17/2008

Few women can captivate the attention of the world without television, the internet, or a spread in Playboy. Mistinguett (né Jeanne Bourgeois in 1875) managed to not only enthrall her home town of Paris, but went on to become the most popular French entertainer of her time and the highest paid female entertainer in the world, prompting an insurance policy to be taken out on her legs for an astounding 500,000 francs.

Mistinguett launched her career at he Casino de Paris in 1895 and went on to perform at the Folies Bergére, le Moulin Rouge, and the Eldorado. She toured the United States and South America and her career spanned over fifty years. She died at age 80, and was perfectly described by her longtime lover Maurice Chevalier:

“She had a way of moving which was the pinnacle of grace But she was more than loveliness alone – she was Paris, the symbol of gaiety and good humor and courage and heart.”

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