While her father Louis was away during World War I, Édith Piaf, born Édith Gassion, spent her formative years with her alcoholic mother who earned a living as a street singer, then in her paternal grandmother's brothel. After the war, Louis resumed his life as a street acrobat and took Édith with him on the road. She was a sickly child whose health was always compromised. Despite her frailty, she had a powerhouse of a singing voice like her mother, and was certain she would be a famous singer one day. She got her first big break when cabaret owner Louis Leplée heard her singing on the street (she who was then doing this "work" for her pimp boyfriend, Albert, in exchange for him not forcing her to work as a prostitute), he who gave her the name Piaf, which translates into sparrow. Taken under the strict direction of vocal coach Raymond Asso, Édith achieved greater fame singing in concert halls first in Paris, then throughout Europe and the United States. At various times, her career was threatened by alleged connections to the mob in association with a murder, morphine and alcohol addiction used initially to relieve pain associated with injuries sustained from a serious car accident, and ill health due to her general constitution. In her personal life, she was linked romantically to already married middleweight boxer Marcel Cerdan and singer Jacques Pills, the latter to who she was married.
Oscar Actress in a Leading Role 2008 (Marion Cotillard)
Oscar Makeup and Hairstyling 2008
Nominated for Costume Design 2008 (Marit Allen)