Elvira Popescu

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Elvira Popescu
Born Elvira Popescu
(1894-05-10)May 10, 1894
Bucharest, Romania
Died December 11, 1993(1993-12-11) (aged 99)
Paris, France
Nationality Romanian, French
Years active 1910–1978
Spouse(s) Aurel Athanasescu
Ion Manolescu-Strunga
Maximilien Sébastien Foy

Elvira Popescu (Romanian pronunciation: [elˈvira poˈpesku]; in French, Elvire Popesco; May 10, 1894 – December 11, 1993) was a Romanian-French stage and movie actress and theatre director.

Life and career[edit]

Born in Bucharest, Popescu studied drama at the Conservatorul de Artă Dramatică, under the guidance of Constantin Nottara and Aristizza Romanescu. She made her debut at the National Theatre Bucharest at age 16.[1] In 1912, she played herself in the movie Independenţa României, directed by Aristide Demetriade. In 1919 she became artistic director of the Excelsior Theatre.[2] In 1921, Popescu started Teatrul Mic, which she managed in parallel with the Excelsior.[3] In 1923, she starred in the movie Ţigăncuşa de la iatac, directed by Alfred Halm.

At the urging of Louis Verneuil, the French playwright, Popescu moved in 1924 to Paris. Under Verneuil's direction, she played the leading role in Ma Cousine de Varsovie, at the Théâtre Michel (1923). She also played in Tovaritch (1933), La Machine infernale (1954), Nina (1949), and La Mamma (1957). Later on, she was director of Théâtre de Paris (1956–1965), and Théâtre Marigny (1965–1978).[4] At age 84, she played again in La Mamma.

Elvira Popescu also played in movies, such as La Présidente (Fernand Rivers, 1938), Tricoche et Cacolet (Pierre Colombier, 1938), Ils étaient neuf célibataires (Sacha Guitry, 1939), Paradis perdu (Abel Gance, 1940), Austerlitz (Abel Gance, 1960), and Purple Noon (René Clément, 1960).

Shortly after her debut in 1910, Popescu married comedian Aurel Athanasescu; they had a daughter, Tatiana.[5] After a few years, she divorced, and married Ion Manolescu-Strunga, Minister of Industry and Commerce[2] (who was to die in Sighet prison in the 1950s). Her third husband was Count Maximilien Sébastien Foy (born in Paris on April 17, 1900, died in Neuilly-sur-Seine on November 11, 1967).[6]

She died in Paris at age 99, and was interred at Père Lachaise Cemetery.


The cinema Salǎ Elvire Popescu at the Institut Français de Roumanie in Bucharest is named in Popescu's honor


Villa Paul Poiret, April 2005
  • While married to Manolescu-Strunga, she lived in a house not far from the University of Bucharest. The house, built on a 1,224 m² lot, has 22 rooms, spread over 500 m² of living area; it was put on the market in 2005 for about 2 million Euros.[7]
  • From 1930 to 1985, Elvira Popescu lived in a villa in Mézy-sur-Seine, Yvelines. The villa, acquired from fashion designer Paul Poiret, and remodelled in 1932 by architect Paul Boyer, was declared a historic monument in 1984, but it has since decayed. Bought for 1.8 million French francs in 1999, it is open occasionally to the public.

Selected filmography[edit]


  1. ^ Mari Români
  2. ^ a b Ciobanu
  3. ^ Ciobanu, Mari Români
  4. ^ "Marigny - Salle Popesco"
  5. ^ Mari Români, CinéArtistes
  6. ^ "Families of Jules and Théodore Porgès"
  7. ^ Pop
  8. ^ Roman


External links[edit]