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|Publicity photo of Deslys, circa 1910s|
(1881-11-04)4 November 1881
|Deceased||11 February 1920(1920-02-11)
|Profession(s)||Actress, singer, dancer|
|Active Years||c. 1901 – 1919|
Gaby Deslys (November 4, 1881 – February 11, 1920) was a dancer, singer and actress of French nationality.
Gaby Deslys’s Biography
Born in Marseille, France, her real name was Marie-Elise-Gabrielle Caire, her artistic name being an abbreviation of Gabrielle of the Lillies. There have been doubts about its origins, since it has been affirmed that its real name was Hadiwga Nawrati, or Hedvika Navrátilová, and that it was a Czech peasant born in Horní Moštěnice, population that at that time belonged to the Kingdom of Hungary. Deslys considered the claim ridiculous: her parents were Hippolyte Caire, textile merchant, and Eudoxie Terrasse. A paternal uncle, François Caire, had been president of the Conseil général des Bouches-du-Rhône in 1894. The marriage had six children, reaching three adults: Gaby Deslys and two sisters, Marie Jeanne Mathilde and Aimée Valérie. Her sisters were married on the same day, on January 14, 1899, by the mayor of Marseille, Siméon Flaissières.
After 1899, he took courses at the Regional Conservatory of Marseille, where he obtained a first prize in solfeggio and a second in singing. In May 1900, the year of the Universal Exposition in Paris (1900), he traveled to Paris to try his luck in the company of a young journalist, Jean Samat, son of a wealthy family.
Ascent to fame
Quickly adopted the stage name of Gaby Deslys, and made a discreet debut in Parisian venues, but progressively was made known. While acting in different productions, she was trained in singing and dancing courses.
In 1904 he acted in À fleur de peau with Joseph Gabin, father of Jean Gabin. In February 1906 he worked at the Olympia in Paris in the production Paris fêtard, in which he sang La Kraquette. In September of 1906, invited by the British Georges Edward, he went to England, where he achieved enormous success. In March 1907 he returned to Paris, and the following year he worked at the Moulin Rouge in the magazine Son altesse l’amour.
In Paris, she was the star of a magazine in Folies Bergère. In November 1910 he had to perform again with Maurice Chevalier, but an illness prevented him from working with him. After a short trip to the United States in 1911, he returned to Paris, where he played the Le Midi bouge magazine at the Theater des Capucines. The premiere, on April 6, 1911, was an immense success.
Invited by Lee Shubert, she returned to the United States on September 17, 1911. She was the ambassador of Parisian charm, with skilfully orchestrated publicity. On January 17, 1912 he left New York to travel to Europe in the company of Harry Pilcer, disembarking in Liverpool, then going to London and Paris. On February 2, 1912 he presented a new issue, La Danse de l’ours, with which he triumphed.
After a stay in Vienna, Pilcer and Deslys traveled to Paris and England, where in August 1912 they performed the piece Une journée à Trouville. After a new tour of the United States (November 1913 – March 1914), he acquired a six-story building in rue Cortambert in Paris. On March 22, 1915, she performed in London in the play Rosy Rupture, written by J. M. Barrie especially for her. At the beginning of 1916 he was back in the United States, arriving in England on April 29, 1916.
In October 1917 Deslys relaunched the Casino de Paris, which Léon Volterra had acquired. She was the star of the magazine Laissez-les tomber, by Jacques Charles. The premiere took place on December 12, 1917, and marked the triumph of American rhythms played by the brothers Pilcer & nbsp; Harry as a dancer, and Murray with his jazz band. Deslys brought to the tables of the Casino de Paris the traditional descent of the stairs that was taken up by Mistinguett and Cécile Sorel.
In addition, at that time she accepted to be the godmother of the 69th Fusiliers Battalion on Foot. Exhausted by the frenetic pace of the tours and the reappearance of the cough, she decided to stop the performances, being replaced by Maurice Chevalier and Mistinguett. He went to rest in Marseille, where he bought at auction a sumptuous mansion, the current Villa de Gaby Deslys.
Race as a dancer
Deslys became very popular in dance venues in Paris and London, where she performed different types of dance, including the Ju-Jitsu waltz, ballroom dancing, Grizzly Bear, Turkey Trot and more. famous played by her, The Gaby Glide.
One of the venues where he performed was Liverpool Olimpia, but he also danced in the United States, where he earned $ 4,000 per week, performing among other places at the Hyperion Theater at Yale University and at the Winter Garden Theater, where the piece Vera Violetta was performed. In 1913 Deslys performed with Al Jolson (in blackface, smudged face) in the musical The Honeymoon Express. In addition, on different occasions Deslys danced at the Grand Casino in Marseille, making his last performance here in 1919.
In 1910 Deslys recorded two songs in Paris, “Tout en Rose” and “Philomene”. Both were edited by the HMV house. Another song, “La Parisienne”, was recorded at the same time, although it was never commercialized.
Deslys began her film career in 1914 with Rosy Rapture, a short film based on the play of the same name that she had played in England. According to IMDb, in the film there was a scene with George Bernard Shaw. His debut in the United States came in 1915 with Her Triumph, working alongside his sentimental partner, the dancer Harry Pilcer. The film, produced by Famous Players-Lasky, is considered lost, although there are still frames of Deslys with Pilcer in that film. Before falling ill, she shot another two films with Harry Pilcer, in 1918 and 1919, and both of French nationality.
The celebrity of Deslys increased after the appearance of journalistic gossip that spoke of the caprice that she felt for her King Manuel II of Portugal. During the king’s visit to Paris in December 1909, he was introduced to Deslys, with whom he immediately began a relationship. His relations were anything but discreet, and were the subject of first press articles in the Euopa and North American press, especially after to be deposed the king in 1910. After his exile, the king continued to meet with her, especially when he was acting in London. When Deslys went to New York in the summer of 1911, their relationships cooled. Deslys then entered into a relationship with the theatrical actor Harry Pilcer, and Manuel married in 1913. Despite this, the artist maintained contact with Manuel’s personal secretary, the Marqués de Lavradio.
Deslys contracted a severe pharyngitis secondary to the Spanish flu pandemic in December 1919. She was operated several times to try to eradicate the infection, two of them without anesthesia. Finally she died in Paris in February 1920. She was buried in the Saint-Pierre cemetery in Marseille.
More Facts about Gaby Deslys
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