From a Parisian cultured "bourgeoise" family (upper-middle class), he was successively doctorate in law, lawyer, notary clerk, soldier (dragoon for two years), but irresistibly attracted by writing, he achieved his first success in 1860 with his one-act play Le Parasite, represented at the Odeon Theatre in Paris.
He married in 1862 the daughter of François Buloz, founder and director of the world-wide famous Revue des Deux Mondes, a monument of the Romantic literature era, which he soon became co-director.
He pursued a triumphal career with his comedies about social customs (comedies de moeurs). His first big hit is obtained at the Theatre du Gymnase, in 1868, with Le Monde où l'on s'amuse (the World where you're having fun), which will lead him as Director of the Comédie Française (where he was admitted in 1863 with his play Le Dernier quartier - the Last district).
His career culminated in 1881 with Le Monde où l'on s'ennuie (the World where you are bored), one of the most strikingly successful pieces of the period which knew a prodigious long run (over 1000 performances at La Comedie Française in Paris, and great success in St Petersburg, London, etc.) The play ridiculed contemporary upper class society and was filled with transparent allusions to well-known people. This triumphal success earned him his election to the famous Académie française in 1882 (seat n°12). None of his two latest creations (La Souris in 1887, and Cabotins in 1894) achieved so great a success.
From his marriage with Marie Buloz, he had three children: Edouard (junior), Henri (deceased at the age of six years) and Marie-Louise (1870-1951), who married and then divorced French writer Paul Bourget, and was a very erudite Historian of the "Revue des deux mondes" and of the big names in French literature of the 19th century.
Edouard Pailleron was a close friend of the American artist John Singer Sargent, (who studied painting in the Parisian Ecole des Beaux Arts), and introduced him in Parisian high-life society which had been very important for the beginning of his successful career. Sargent painted several portraits of Edouard and his family, which are all, presently, in Museum, mainly American ones. Mention: a portrait of Edouard in 1879 (Musée Chateau de Versailles, France), of his wife, Marie Buloz in 1880 (Corcoran Gallery of Art, USA), of his children, Edouard Jn and Marie-Louise in 1881 (Des Moines Art Center, USA). These paintings were among the very first to make him famous.
A statue bust of Edouard Pailleron, sculpted in 1906 by Russian-born artist Leopold Bernard Bernstamm, is located in the Parc Monceau in Paris.
At last, his vacation property above Chambéry (Savoie), named "La Souris", built in the last years of the 19th century, is still surviving and virtually unchanged as the original park with trees more than centenarians, even if the whole is now an allotment. By cons, in the same park, the cottage of his friend Charles Forest, Senator of Savoie, whose daughter Marguerite married his son, Edouard Jn., no longer exists.
In France, his name became famous again in the 1970s because it was given to a school in Paris that was destroyed by a fire on 6 February 1973, killing 21 children.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. The article is available here: 
- Template:1887 His poem Je Passais is available here: