Lys Assia

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Lys Assia
Lys Assia (1957).jpg
Assia in 1957
Background information
Birth nameRosa Mina Schärer
Born(1924-03-03)3 March 1924
Rupperswil, Aargau, Switzerland
Died24 March 2018(2018-03-24) (aged 94)
Zollikerberg, Zürich, Switzerland
Years active1942–2018

Lys Assia (born Rosa Mina Schärer; 3 March 1924 – 24 March 2018)[1][2] was a Swiss singer who won the first Eurovision Song Contest in 1956. Assia was born in Rupperswil, Aargau, and began her stage career as a dancer, but changed to singing in 1940, after successfully standing in for a female singer.

Eurovision Song Contest[edit]

In 1956 she was the winner of the first Eurovision Song Contest, in which she sang for Switzerland.[3] She had also been in the German national final of that year and returned to the contest again for Switzerland in 1957 and 1958.[3] Her Eurovision success was followed by success in Germany with "O mein Papa".[4]

In 2005, Assia performed at the 50th Anniversary of Eurovision.[5]

In September 2011, Assia entered her song "C'était ma vie" written by Ralph Siegel and Jean Paul Cara into the Swiss national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 in Baku, Azerbaijan.[6][7] The song, however, only came eighth in a closely fought national selection. She attended the event in Baku as a guest of honour.[8]

In 2012, Assia again entered the Swiss national selection Die grosse Entscheidungs Show to represent Switzerland in Malmö at the Eurovision Song Contest 2013 with the song "All In Your Head" featuring the hip-hop band New Jack.[9] There were rumours of Assia representing San Marino, but it was announced on 30 January 2013 that Valentina Monetta would do so.[10][11]

Personal life[edit]

Assia married Johann Heinrich Kunz on 11 January 1957 in Zürich. Kunz died just nine months later after battling a serious illness.[12] She remarried Oscar Pedersen in 1963, who died in 1995.[13]


Assia died on 24 March 2018 in Zürich.[14][15]


  1. ^ "Lys Assia, First Lady of the Eurovision Song Contest, dies aged 94 - Eurovision Song Contest Lisbon 2018". Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  2. ^ "Eurovision's 'first lady' dies aged 94". 25 March 2018. Retrieved 7 April 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Eurovision 1958 Switzerland: Lys Assia - "Giorgio"". Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  4. ^ Lennon, Troy (22 May 2015). "Eurovision's one hit wonders singing their way to fleeting fame". The Daily Telegraph. Sydney, Australia: Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  5. ^ "Eurovision's 'first lady' dies aged 94". BBC News. 25 March 2018. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  6. ^ "First Eurovision winner Lys Assia submitted a song in the Swiss selection". Archived from the original on 1 January 2012. Retrieved 23 May 2013.
  7. ^ "Lys Assia". Les archives de la Radio télévision suisse (in French). Radio télévision suisse. Le projet de numérisation des archives de la RTS. 6 November 2011. Retrieved 23 May 2013. Document
  8. ^ Teuber, Verena (1 July 2012). "Eurovision weekend held in Berlin from 3 August-5 August". OGAE Germany. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  9. ^ "Switzerland: Lys Assia's 2013 entry previewed". escXtra. Archived from the original on 4 November 2012. Retrieved 19 December 2012.
  10. ^ Roxburgh, Gordon (30 January 2013). "It's Valentina Monetta again for San Marino". EBU. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  11. ^ "Eurovision's first winner Lys Assia dies aged 94". 24 March 2018. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  12. ^ "Lys Assia: Biografie der Schweizer ESC-Teilnehmerin". Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  13. ^ "Lys Assia". Retrieved 2 January 2018.
  14. ^ "Lys Assia ist tot". 24 March 2018. Retrieved 24 March 2018.
  15. ^ Nerssessian, Joe (24 March 2018). "The first ever winner of Eurovision, Lys Assia, has died aged 94". The Independent. London, England: Independent Print Ltd. Retrieved 24 March 2018.

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Winner of the Eurovision Song Contest
Succeeded by
Netherlands Corry Brokken
with "Net als toen"
Preceded by
Debut entry
Switzerland in the Eurovision Song Contest
with "Das alte Karussell" and
with "L'enfant que j'étais",
with "Giorgio"
Succeeded by
Christa Williams
with "Irgendwoher"