Cyr, Myriam 1960-

views updated

Cyr, Myriam 1960-


Born 1960, in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada; daughter of a mother who worked as a television and radio announcer and program director. Education: Studied acting at the Academy of Dramatic Arts, London, England.


Agent—John DeHorty Management, Inc., 125 Christopher St., Ste. 6C, New York, NY 10014. E-mail—[email protected]


Actress and author. Has appeared in films, including Caffe Italia Montréal, 1985; Gothic, 1987; Bonjour Monsieur Gauguin, 1988; How to Make Love to a Negro without Getting Tired, 1989; Frankenstein Unbound, 1990; Point of View, 1990; Le secret de Jérôme, 1994; Savage Hearts, 1995; I Shot Andy Warhol, 1996; Land of Hope, 1996; Dirty Rice, 1997; Heist, 1997; Species II, 1998; Kill by Inches, 1999; Zoo, 1999; and Hostage, 1999. Appeared on stage in The Green Bird, 1996; The Misunderstanding, 1998; In Transit, 2000; Three Farces and a Funeral, 200001; Cartas: A Nun in Love, 2001; Goodnight Desdemona, Salome, Madame de Sade, and The Women. Actor in television programs, including episode of The Hitchhiker, 1989; the miniseries Berlin Lady, 1991; and the movie Frankenstein and Me, 1996. Member, Royal National Theatre, London, England.


Golden Bayard award for best actress, 1994, and at Sarlat and Namur film festivals in France, all for Le secret de Jérôme; has also been selected best actress; best actress honors at Houston, New Orleans, and Charleston, South Carolina, film festivals.


In Transit (play), produced in New York, NY, at the La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club, 2000.

(Translator) Cartas: A Nun in Love (solo stage show), produced in New York, NY, at 45 Bleecker Theatre, 2001.

Letters of a Portuguese Nun: Uncovering the Mystery behind a 17th-Century Forbidden Love, Miramax Books (New York, NY), 2006.


An accomplished Canadian actress of film and stage, Myriam Cyr chose a romantic topic for her first nonfiction book, Letters of a Portuguese Nun: Uncovering the Mystery behind a 17th-Century Forbidden Love. The story centers around five letters purportedly written centuries ago by a Portuguese nun who had fallen in love with a French military officer. The missives were discovered in 1669 and first published in France. The romantic nature of the forbidden passion made them very popular in proper European social circles, but the question was whether 85 they were genuine letters or the fictions of a male author indulging in a then-popular game in French salons known as "Valentines."

Today, most scholars believe that the latter is the case, but Cyr begs to differ. In Letters of a Portuguese Nun she makes the case that there was actually just such a nun. She sets the stage in which the letters are written during the war between Spain and Portugal, when Mariana Alcoforada is sent to a convent by her wealthy merchant father. Because of the war, her convent is cut off from the Church; seeking aid from the French king, the convent persuades Louis XIV to send troops, and Mariana meets the officer with whom she falls in love. Although critics of the book felt that this situation was certainly plausible, they pointed out that there is still not enough evidence to prove that the letters are authentic. A Publishers Weekly reviewer appreciated that Cyr sets up her background well, adding: "It's clear that Cyr did extensive research; she is not, however, a writer or a historian." "Their affair is tastefully recreated by the author," commented a Kirkus Reviews contributor, "with no small amount of speculation."



Contemporary Theatre, Film and Television, Volume 51, Thomson Gale (Detroit, MI), 2003.


Booklist, December 15, 2005, Margaret Flanagan, review of Letters of a Portuguese Nun: Uncovering the Mystery behind a 17th-Century Forbidden Love, p. 13.

Kirkus Reviews, December 1, 2005, review of Letters of a Portuguese Nun, p. 1262.

Publishers Weekly, October 31, 2005, review of Letters of a Portuguese Nun, p. 42.


Miriam Cyr Home Page, (July 22, 2006).