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Image of Gabrielle Réjane by Nadar
|Born||Gabrielle Charlotte Réju
5 June 1856
|Died||14 June 1920
|Years active||1900 - 1920|
Born in Paris, the daughter of an actor, she became a pupil of Régnier at the Conservatoire, and took the second prize for comedy in 1874. Her debut was made the next year, during which she played attractively a number of light—especially soubrette—parts. Her first great success was in Henri Meilhac's Ma camarade (1883), and she soon became known as an emotional actress of rare gifts, notably in Décor, Germinie Lacerteux, Ma cousine, Amoureuse and Lysistrata.
In 1892 she married M. Paul Porel, the director of the Théâtre du Vaudeville, but the marriage was dissolved in 1905, following which she toured Quebec. In 1893 she appeared in Paris, and soon thereafter in London and New York, in her most famous role as Catherine in Sardou's Madame Sans-Gêne. Her performances in the play made her as well known in England and the United States as in Paris, and in later years she appeared in characteristic parts in both countries, being particularly successful in Zaza and La Passerelle. She opened the Théâtre Réjane in Paris in 1906.
Along with her great rival, Sarah Bernhardt, she served as the model for the character of the actress Berma in Marcel Proust's novel In Search of Lost Time (A la Recherche du Temps Perdu). The essence of French vivacity and animated expression appeared to be concentrated in Madame Réjane's acting, and made her unrivalled in the parts which she had made her own.
She appeared in several short films during the early years of cinema including an experimental 1908 sound film.
She was awarded a knight of the Legion of Honor three months before her death. Réjane died in Paris on 14 June 1920 and was buried there in the Cimetière de Passy.
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Réjane, Gabrielle". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press
- Gabrielle Réjane at Find a Grave
- Madame Sans-Géne About the play and Gabrielle Rejane, with an 1894 review from PUNCH magazine
- Gabrielle Rejane at IMDb.com
- Gabrielle Rejane, IBDb.com