Dorval, Marie (1798–1849)

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Dorval, Marie (1798–1849)

French actress. Born Marie Thomase Amélie Delaunay, Jan 6, 1798, in Lorient, France; died May 20, 1849 in Paris, France; dau. of Marie Bourdais (actress); m. Allan Dorval (actor and dance-master), 1813 (died); m. M. Merle (theater director and critic); children: Gabrielle Dorval (b. 1816), Louise Dorval (b. 1817), Caroline Piccini.

Famed for her charm, emotive acting and turbulent love-life, made stage debut at 4; abandoned by father, an actor named Delaunay, in Bourges (1808), was orphaned when mother died in Tours (1813); at 16, married Dorval (1813); moved with family to Paris and began acting in Theater of Saint Martin's (1818), remaining there for 10 years; after husband died, had romantic liaison with composer Piccini and gave birth to daughter Caroline (1821); played role of Thérèse in Two Convicts to great acclaim (1822) and was dubbed "First Actress of Paris" after enormous success in Thirty Years, or the Life of a Player which also starred Frédérick Lemaître (1827); became involved with Lemaître but left him to marry M. Merle; starred in Alexandre Dumas' play Antony (1831), the 1st of many successful collaborations; had affair with Dumas, then became mistress of playwright Alfred de Vigny (1832–38), starring in many of his works, including Quitte Pour La Peur (1833) and Chatterton; began working in French comedy (1834); is thought to have had love affair with writer George Sand who wrote for Dorval the unsuccessful play Cosima; ended relationship with de Vigny with much bitterness, leaving him for Jules Sandeau, former lover of Sand; moved on to work at Odéon (1836–37) and then Gymnasium (1839), only to return to Odéon (1842) to perform in such works as Lucrèce, Phedre, The Marriage of the Barber and Countess of Altemberg; got involved with comic actor René Luguet who would become husband of daughter Caroline (1842); after giving last great performance at Odéon in Marie-Jeanne, Woman of the People (1845), experienced health problems; died in poverty.

See also (in French) Alexandre Dumas, Les Morts Von Vite (1861); Anna Gaylor, Marie Dorval, grandeur et misère d'une actrice romantique (Flammarion, 1989).

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Dorval, Marie (1798–1849)

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