Gabrielle Réjane

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Gabrielle Réjane
Actress Gabrielle Réjane by Nadar.jpg
Gabrielle Réjane by Nadar
Gabrielle Charlotte Réju

(1856-06-05)5 June 1856
Died14 June 1920(1920-06-14) (aged 64)
Years active1875–1920
Paul Porel [fr]
(m. 1892; div. 1905)
RelativesJany Holt
Jean-Marie Périer
Marc Porel

Gabrielle Charlotte Reju (5 June 1856 – 14 June 1920), known professionally as Gabrielle Réjane (French pronunciation: ​[ɡa.bʁi.jɛl ʁe.ʒan]), was a successful French stage actress and early silent film actress.[1]


The Actress Réjane and her Dog, by Giovanni Boldini, ca. 1885

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 the next year, during which she played 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.

Bystander Magazine; 1906

In 1892 a pregnant Rejane married Paul Porel [fr], the director of the Théâtre du Vaudeville, but the marriage dissolved in 1905, following which she toured Quebec. They had a daughter, Germaine, and two sons, Jacques and Jean.[2][3][4] Through Jacques, she was mother-in-law to Romanian-born actress Jany Holt, with that couple supporting the French Resistance during the Nazi occupation of France.[5]

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.

With daughter Germaine Porel, portrait by Paul Nadar.

Along with 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).[citation needed] The French vivacity and animated expression that was Réjane's trademark 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[6] and a 1911 adaptation of the play Madame Sans-Gêne.

She was made 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.


  1. ^ Gabrielle Réjane - North American Theatre Online
  2. ^
  3. ^
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  5. ^ Bergan, Ronald (2005-11-18). "Obituary: Jany Holt". The Guardian. Retrieved 2019-12-27.
  6. ^ Rejane Sound Film, 1908; database


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