Edith Piaf or Edith Lamboukas was born on December 19, 1915. She is known as France' national diva and is a great international star. Her singing is highly spiced with ballads that speak of love, loss and sorrow. Edith was abandoned at birth and she lived for a time with her maternal grandmother. In 1916 her father moved her to his mother who ran a brothel in Normandy. Edith was looked after by prostitutes.
Edith was blind from three the seven due to keratitis. She claims that her sight was restored after being sent on a pilgrimage to Saint Therese of Lisieux. However, keratitis can be cured and this was probably the case in Edith's situation.
At 14 Edith worked with her father in his acrobatic street performances and at 15 she met Simone Berteaut her close friend for most of her life. Edith was discovered by Louis Leplee a nightclub owner. He taught her to sing and gave her the nickname of Piaf (The Little Sparrow). She learned the basics of stage presence and only wearing from Leplee. After Leplee's murder, Piaf formed friendships with actor/singer Maurice Chevalier. She composed the lyrics to her songs and worked in partnership with musicians on the melodies. Edith discovered Yves Montand in 1944 and he became part of her program. After Montand became famous Edith broke off the relationship.
Edith worked for the French Resistance by singing at German Forces social gatherings. She earned the right to pose with French prisoners of war and these photos later became part of forged passport photos.
Piaf had one child who died of meningitis and neglect. She married Jacques Pills in 1952 but divorced him in 1957. In 1962 she married Theo Sarapo Lamboukas who was 20 years her junior. They sang together in some of her last engagements. Piaf died of liver cancer at 47 on the French Riviera on October 10, 1963. Many of her songs are found in popular culture. You can here Piaf's music in Saving Private Ryan, Inception, and Bull Durham.