War - beyond
Edith and Mômone lived at Madame Billy's until the beginning of 1944 when the brothel was finally closed by the Gestapo. They decided to return to the Hôtel Alsina.
Louis Gassion, Edith's father died on the 3rd March 1944. He had lived in a shabby old hotel for a number of years, by choice, but Edith had provided him with a manservant once she became successful - fulfilling an old promise to him. It was he who informed Edith and Mômone of their father's passing. The funeral took place on the 8th March at the church of St Jean-Baptiste and was attended by family members from Normandy and the prostitutes from his mother's place of work in Bernay. Edith arranged for Marcelle's body to be exhumed and buried in a family grave with him in Père Lachaise.
That Spring, she met the man who became her manager for the remainder of her life - Louis Barrier. He was the only agent she ever had and within only a few days of his appointment had obtained a two week contract for her at the Moulin Rouge. Her supporting act turned out to be a young singer named Yves Montand. Initially they did not see eye to eye; Edith thought he was uncultured and his songs uncouth. She took it upon herself to nurture him professionally, sometimes to his annoyance, and she even asked Henri Contet to write songs for him - by this time she was falling out of love with him and in love with Montand. After the Moulin engagement she and Montand toured Orléans, Lyons and Marseille (Montand's home town), but Montand was not a great hit. They returned to Paris and gradually Montand began to blossom into a performer of high demand. Their relationship however, began to suffer by the time Etoile sans lumière started filming ;things limped along between them until it's completion , then shortly after,Edith left him to tour Alsace. Along with her went another newly discovered talent - this time in the form of nine singers who were known as "Les Compagnons de la Chanson".
Their leader, Jean-Louis Jaubert soon became her lover and in typical Edith style she moved them all in to a new home - 26 rue de Berri, just off the Champs Elysee. After Alsace came another film, this time with Les Compagnons - Neuf Garcons et un Coeur. Unlike Etoile sans Lumiere it only enjoyed minimal success,but one song from it was to achieve greatness: La Vie en Rose. Written by Edith herself, it was initially "Les Choses en Rose" but for a friend of hers, Marianne Michel. She suggested the substitution and the rest, as we say, is history. Jaubert was not destined to rule Edith's attention for long .In 1946 they embarked on a none too successful tour of Greece where she met an actor named Takis Menelas. His adoration was such that he offered to divorce his wife and marry her; his suggestion however, that she gave up her career in order to stay in Greece was too big a sacrifice - she refused .She left Greece; and Menelas, behind after hearing that her next tour had just been accepted - America.
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